Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29: When I was a child, we used newspapers as toilet paper.

The Irving press starts out as toilet paper.

The "events centre" push starts on page 1 with the story that a downtown business group supports it. Beside it is the biggest story of the day. The $400,000 concrete lobster in Shediac is 25 years old. We are told, "Some thought investing in a huge sculpture was a waste, but few if any doubters remain today."

Does that sub-headline bring something to mind? It's supposed to. This is what's called propaganda by subliminal suggestion. It's supposed to make you think of how some, weird people today think an events centre is a waste of money; but they will '' be proven wrong", too.

And in case we miss that message, there is a long, long commentary column by m.p. Goguen boosting the events centre. And he also writes the whole column as an intensely political one (if, as I doubt, he did write it all by himself) to take shots at the Liberals, both federal and provincial. He makes no mention of federal and provincial conservatives who haven't done a whole hell of a lot, either.

The problem with this commentary is not simply that it's political propaganda. The problems is that a commentary editor allowed such a blatantly political statement by a politician to appear on the commentary page.

Another problem is that only two parties seem to have the right to get their views published in the Irvning press.

Alec Bruce, as well, sucks at the events centre teat. Note as well his last, two paragraphs in which he criticizes a commentary on this same page yesterday by the Liberal premier of the province. He scolds the Liberal leader for making a partisan attack on the Conservatives. Now read the final paragraph in Smirky Goguen's column  - the one in which he makes a partisan attack on the Liberals.

Since the start of the big push,  I  have not seen one criticism of the events centre proposal in this paper.

Quite apart from the question of ethics in publishing commentaries that are really political ads, and the ethics of beating the drums for those already wealthy people who want us to build them a new hockey rink, doesn't the editor read this stuff before he approves it? This is a remarkably sloppily run paper.

Tell you what. Big business, which owns the Irving press, in running a planned campaign to convince us that the events centre will produce profits right from the start. Big profits. Okay. So why isn't somebody named Irving building it? I mean, it's really not fair for us to get all those millions of dollars. (As it is, it's not fair for us to expect them to pay taxes or improve the minimum wage.)  $107 million would be small change for the wealthy. And they could probably borrow it interest free from the province.

Besides, Norbert is always telling us how government is inefficient and incompetent, and how only 'entrepreneurs' know how to  do things. So how can we even consider making this a government project?
Let people who really know how to make money handle this. They can pay for it; and they can keep the profit. And, lord knows, they will never get taxed on it.

They could name it "The Irving Events Centre and Philanthropic Hall of Irving Fame and Irving Chapel".

Or, the city and province could set a list of priorities for what has to be done, things helping the hungry and homeless, sustaining education, making university affordable - and giving some thought how, as the deadline for climate change getting closer we are going to cope with it in a city designed around cars, and heated by oil..
A7 has a story on the deterioration of rail safety in New Brunswick. I wouldn't worry about it. The Irvings need that rail to be safe for their oil shipments. Anyway, that Lac Megantic thing was all the fault of the driver.
The editorial, as always, is about money. The editorial writer never heard about people. But it doesn't matter. because it's unintelligible, anyway. One line caught my eye, though. It argues that capitalists (sorry, entrepreneurs) should get EI payment if they go broke. After all, they pay into the fund. ...... ummmmm - aren't the words entrepreneur and capitalist defined as taking a risk to invest capital? I mean, that's why we're told they're so superior to us. They take a risk. Wouldn't giving them EI spoil them, and kill their ambition to succeed?

Then there's Norbert. He really turns on the invective. He talks about how wonderful and quick the response of the world has been, and how most (decent) people in the world have given condolences to Nepal. And he expresses shame for those who are "so wrapped up in themelves" that they show how little they really care about humanity. They're worms.

Vintage Norbert. He specifically mentioned those who are critical of Harper for sending only five million. Well, I'm a worm, Norbert. I said that in yesterday's blog. So, tell you what. Challenge me to a public debate (We could announce it's to raise money for Nepal). You can even have your whole editorial staff there to help you.

1. Harper DID commit only 5 million. In a nation of poverty, starvation, and massive destruction of homes and services, and with up to 10,000 dead, 5 million will barely cover the cost of burials. Distributed to the living, it will buy each person half a hot dog. And Harper is the same man who is spending almost three times that on an ad blitz to praise his budget. Who's the worm? Where's the compassion?

2. There are thousands of people in this world who could give 5 million each without even noticing it. And I haven't heard of any doing it. Are they self-interested worms? You bet they are. But would you (speaking of worms) ever have the courage to say that?

3. As to the speed of our response, last I heard, Canada had not even tried yet to contact Canadians in that country. And we appear to be the stragglers in that. How's that for compassion, Norbert?

For the last half of his column, after he runs out of his tizzy fit, Norbert falls back on his old game of changing the subject by doing a quick read from a book about earthquakes to give us a lesson on what causes them.

Brian Cormier, as always, has a pointless and trivial story. He should be assigned to write the sermonettes on the Faith Page.

Canada&World leads with the trial of Senator Mike Duffy. The defence now  has only one argument which it is playing heavily. Duffy isn't the only one who's robbing us. Lots of senators are doing it. I must remember that defence if I'm ever tried for theft.

The violence in Baltimore, Maryland gets some attention - with a statement from Obama that there is no need for violence. (Somebody might say that to Obama about his dealing with the middle east, drone bombing all over the place, threats over Ukraine, and violent suppression, including murder and attempted overthrow of elected governments in Latin America.

Read American history books. They celebrate violence - the American revolution, the invasion of Canada, the many invasions of Latin America, the invasion of Iraq for weapons that were never there in the first place, the mass murder in Vietnam, the US-sponsored civil war in Syria, the use of torture, the push for war with Russia......

As for Baltimore, the rioting was against centuries of racism, discrimination, enforced poverty and, in recent years, gun-happy police. Thousands have been shot in the back, shot when unarmed, beaten to death...
There's video on youtube, a common type of video these days, showing an unarmed and unresisting black being suddenly smashed down the to sidewalk. He lay there, paralyzed and obviously in need of medical help. But there was no call for medical help. The police lifted up the paralyzed man. They handcuffed and shackled him!! And pushed  him into the police car. He died, still without medical care, a few hours later. He had a broken spine - very much like the case in Baltimore.

American police have been systematically militarized and brutalized for some years. They're not there to protect the public. They exist to keep people in line. The public is their enemy. That's what happens in a police state. American police killed 628 people in 2014, and they're on track for a new record in 2015.

Police are rarely charged, and almost never found guilty. Blacks and hispanics are the usual targets. For a black, just looking at a policeman in Baltimore could get him in deep trouble. American blacks have always been condemned to hopeless lives, usually in violent slums, and they have always been blamed for neglect created by white racists.

And Obama has never lifted a finger to help them. Even the Civil War didn't bring hope. Those who left the South found themselves working, if at all, in dreadful, often dangerous, conditions, very low pay, and in slums in the North. Those who stayed in the South were treated even worse. And no American president has ever lifted a finger.

If you think they shouldn't riot, suggest another course of action.

Meanwhile, take a look at the report on this below by CBC.

Canada has no wonderful record on the issue of racism. I learned that from a book by one of my students about the history of blacks in Montreal. She's Dorothy Williams, who wrote  "Black Like Me". It's an excellent book, but might be difficult to find. The best place to search for such books is to google George H. Junne Jr. "The History of Blacks in Canada."

The maritimes were particularly racist and, in Nova Scotia at least, still are. Nor was New Brunswick different. Poet Fred Cogswell frequently attacked Fredericton as a wretchedly ignorant and loathsome place, but never more cutting that when he wrote,

O snow-white city of cold, white Christians.
So white you will not cut a black man's hair.

Love Cogswell. I hope the schools still teach him. (But that's probably been ruled out by the Anglophone East School Board).
Excellent page B4 of the report of the auditor general. It's scathing on our treatment of native peoples, and on Harper's tough-on-ciime- regime. It makes the system far more expensive while at the same time it produces worse criminals when their time is up. I can believe it. I spent a good deal of time in prison working with assorted murderers and lesser criminals. I never met one who wasn't more dangerous when he got out that when he went in. And I saw no significant effort to rehabilitate them. Harper is not reducing crime. He's producing more dangerous criminals.

B5 has the story that Canadians in Nepal have not received any help or even contact from the Canadian government. Read that, Norbert. Read it, and tell us all about compassion.
Amazingly, there is almost no news about the rest of the world, despite some alarming and mysterious developments.

1. Why is Saudi Arabia in Yemen? And why is it trying to win a war by bombing? Well, for a start, it's army is small, badly trained, and as likely to shoot the king as any enemy. The air force is well equipped, and well-trained. So they send the air force -but you can't win a war by bombing.

And why did a prince give a hundred incredibly expensive cars to the pilots who did the bombing? Well, it could have something to do with keeping them loyal to the royal family.

But why are they attacking in the first place? Saudi Arabia hasn't attacked anybody in eighty years. It has always depended on the US.

Al Jazeera's take is that the US, which it has always depended on for defence, is abandoning it, that the talks with Iran are really to re-establish Iran as the great, Muslim power of the region, that the new king does not trust the US, and is attacking Yemen because the US does not want it to.

If that's the case, we may have Saudi Arabia as another failed state in the region - and there will be consequences to that.

2. Then there's the story of a ship from the Marshall Islands, going through Iranian waters, that was stopped when an Iranian warship fired a shot across its bows. Well, you're allowed to do that. Every country does that. It's legal to stop a ship in your waters. And if it doesn't stop, it's legal to fire a shot across the bows. The ship has now been released and allowed to go on its way.

So why has the US sent a warship to meet it? And is the US warship going into Iranian territorial waters to intercept the ship? That's illegal, and a cause of war. Add to that the probability that the US wants Iran out of the way so it can afford to devote its resources to an assault on Russia. It would prefer to do so by treaty because it needs to be done quickly, before Russia and China get their forces ready.

The war on Yemen by the Saudis (with US support) may wreck that plan by wrecking the treaty with Iran.
But if the US doesn't support the Saudi invasion of Yemen, what will happen in Saudi Arabia? There are some very, very dangerous games being played here, all to make money for the US very wealthy, and all with the potential to create a world, nuclear war. Watch for Saudi Arabia to be the next country  to develop a secret, nuclear programme.

How can a newspaper simply ignore this story?

But, oh, yeah. Isn't it terrible how those black people are using violence in Baltimore?

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