Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4: An amazingly weak edition.

The lead story, reasonably enough, is about the government cut to daycare subsidies. But we see it only as a financial problem. In fact, it is a much deeper issue about the meaning of education, and when it starts. The daycare operators don't understand that. The government doesn't understand that. And, in particular, the minister of education doesn't understand that.

At the bottom of the page, there's a story that looked worth reading. "Battle of Atlantic remembered 70 years later". Alas! After a brief opening about the ceremony, the story is pretty much the same one that appeared in this paper on Saturday - with the same mistake. THERE WAS NO HMCS ST SAGUENAY.

And that's really it for anything that could be called news in section A.

The editorial can be most kindly described as trite. The topic is an important one. The editorial is just gush.

Norbert takes on the most serious issue of our time. And says nothing about it. It's what he calls our dysfunctional political system. But he really has nothing to say. Essentially, this comes down to writing "something must be done" fifty times. Worse, he writes as though it's all because of that word he hates - politicians.

Norbert, I don't know any kind way to break this to you. The very rich have ALWAYS had great influence on politicians. But the direct power of the very rich has, in the past forty years, become so overwhelming that the politicians commonly no longer have any power at all. The real governments, all over the world, are made up of the very rich. American foreign policy exists only to serve the very rich. Our soldiers die for the very rich. Environmental policies are set by the very rich. The politicians are bought. That's why Stephen Harper has over 6 million dollars in the Conservative campaign fund. (plus the 12.5 that he has access to, probably from our taxes.) That's a total of over eighteen million dollars.

And you can bet that parties that can't be bought, like the Greens and the NDP, have a whole lot less than that.

That's one problem - the rise of big business to a degree of political control that effectively is ending democracy. How come you never mention that? You know the Irvings subsidize parties that obey them. You know that they interfere in the workings of democracy. Why don't you say so.

Then there's the problem of information. Voters cannot possibly understand what's going on if people like you don't tell them. And you don't tell them.

There are two problems that make New Brunswick politics rotten. One of the is the Irvings. The other, Norbert, is you. Tomorrow, you say, you'l discuss specific measures. But you won't discuss the real problems, will you? You won't mention a word about the Irvings or about you and your abysmal newspaper.that they own.

Alec Bruce has another pitch for shale gas. Steve Malloy is worth reading.

The last page has a photo that the library's quite wonderful statue of Northrop Frye. It's  really superb, and I often have an urge to sit on the bench with him, and look over his shoulder at his book. But, oh, what contempt he would have for today's leadership of New Brunswick.
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The big news in section B is that another royal baby has been born. The story has a photo of cheering idiots. No wonder the British Empire crashed.

Then, p. 2, a minor story that Ontario plans to bury nuclear waste deep into the bedrock near Lake Ontario where it will be a danger for at least centuries to come.  Has it not occurred to anyone that maybe we shouldn't be using nuclear power in the first place? And what wrong with the usual disposal method of shipping it to the coasts of impoverished African nations and dumping on the shores?

Maybe the Irving press could bust the budget and do a story on why so many Africans depend on piracy to live.

On the fourth and last page of this ghastly and uniformative newspaper (Imagine - four pages for Canada&World. What an el cheapo!) - anyway there's a story about Nigerian girls being stoned to death. It is certainly a terrible thing to happen. But it occurred to me that I have rarely (if ever) seen such a story about brutal slaughter by our side.

We have killed girls by the million using napalm, agent orange, bombs, starvation.... For the last fifty years, at least, we have been the world champion for killing little girls. So how come we don't have stories about what we've done.

Oh, I know. Some readers will say I'm explaining away the horrors of what has been done by Muslims. No,  I'm not. I'm not. It is horrible. It's also horrible when Christians do it. So why aren't we told?
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This edition of the Times and Transcript, even by its own dismal standards, is pretty awful. Partly, that's because it's run simply as a business enterprise. That would be the style of Irvings, of course. It  has only three purposes - to censor what the Irvings don't want us to know, to spread their propaganda, and to make money for the Irvings.

That's why its understaffed and run on the very, very cheap, and tells us close to nothing. Norbert thinks all activities in this world should be run as businesses. But all activities are NOT businesses. Schools are not businesses. Child care is not a business. Health care is not a business. And the news cannot be simply a business without degrading it - as the Irvings  have done.
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So. Did this edition miss any big stories. Uh, yeah.

Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemen with cluster bombs. These are supplied to it by the largely Christian United States. Problems with such bombs?
1. It is impossible to aim them. Once they go, they can hit enemy fighters, elderly people, women, children, babies. There is no way to control them.

2. They are commonly dropped by the millions, and many do not explode. But they remain able to explode at a touch for decades.

3. They can (and have) left nations covered in bomblets that are hard to find for any clearing project. But they are picked up by children who think they're toys. Children in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries are still dying from them.

Incidentally, many of them are lying South America, - you know, the home of the US "good neighbour" policy. Most of these are in Colombia.

But their stories have never made the Irving press.

Then there are stories, almost certainly true, that Russia, China and other countries are organizing against the threat of US invasion. There are stories, undoubtedly true, that Europeans are becoming very concerned about American aggression all over the world.

US aggression (and European aggression before it) are destroying whole societies in the Middle East and Africa. We've been there before. Once so abused, those societies can take centuries to recover - and even then are not as they were. It took China some 170 years to recover - 170 years of poverty, disorder, civil wars, Chiang-Kai Sheck, and then Mao and his followers. to recover. But the new China is run by the same sort of unprincipled and immoral financial elite that run most of other countries now.

The old India was never restored. And British policy deliberately created Muslim/Hindu hatreds that created the separate nations of India and Pakistan, each with hundreds of nuclear missiles aimed at the other.

Native peoples, contrary to what we are taught in school, had sophisticated cultures, in many ways superior to those of Europe. They were destroyed long ago, most of them centuries ago. And the way back is still a very long one.

It's hard to imagine the middle east recovering from what we've done.

And now, we've even allowed the destruction of our own society by abandoning democracy and handing over power to the greediest and most hateful people on the face of the earth. By our silence, we have destroyed even most of our religions.

My generation and the one behind it have been disasters for humanity. News media like the Irving press have played a contemptible role in those disasters. And more are coming.

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