Saturday, May 9, 2015

May 9: "Knives, sharp objects regularly seized at Moncton courthouse"

So bloody what? At an airport, my tiny penknife with its  two inch blade was seized so that I couldn't use it to take control of an aircraft with with a hundred and fifty passengers, murder them all, and crash the plane into the new Shediac trailer park. Such knives are seized at the courthouse where they also seize scissors and butter knives and nail files. All of that is reasonable enough. But it's scarcely cause for a panic. And I read that bottle openers and corkscrews are routinely seized, too. But I can't remember the last time a judge was corkscrewed to death during a trial.

These are reasonable and routine search procedures, largely concerning quite innocent people: but, of course, authorities can't take a chance..

But, come off it. This is not a front-page headline story. It's not a story at all. This is the most brainless sort of sensationalism. It tell us nothing except to check our pockets before entering a courtroom.Any newspaper that would run this as a story of any sort is showing an utter contempt for its readers.

On A3, big photo and story about Mr. Irving getting the Order of Canada. His numerous contributions include sponsoring the wild reading programme. (Oh, and he's proud to work for Irving Ltd. At his salary, he should be. At his salary, I'd be proud to work for a toilet-scrubbing service.)

The editorial is, as usual, about money rather than people. And, in ponderous style, it says nothing that has not appeared in news stories about the underground economy. Meanwhile, there's a huge underground economy that neither news stories nor editorials have touched. Waiters who don't declare their tips are no big deal in national economies. But billionaires who can hide their profits in overseas bank accounts or in special deals with government and therefore avoid taxes - now, there's a real underground economy.

Funny our news media haven't mentioned it. (Their reporters are probably busy counting how many corkscrews have been confiscated at the courthouse.)

Norbert is sometimes ranting, sometimes bizarre. He says, for example, that the federal Liberals and NDP criticize Harper, and often go over the top. Oh, Norbert? You think its okay to pass a bill that destroys our constitutional freedoms? No big deal?

He obviously hates the Liberals and loves the Conservatives and is prepared to approve of the NDP so long as it adopts Conservative principles. None of it has any reasoned argument. And the last paragraph defies even comprehension. He says the NDP will gain from recent trends. But recent Conservative wins were not flukes. What conclusion are we supposed to draw from that combination of statements?

Oh, and proof of Conservative popularity is in Harper's ability to win majority votes. Actually, Harper has never won a majority vote. In the last election, only 62% voted. Harper has won pluralities, not majorities. And if that's a sign of anything, it's a sign of the crash landing of Canadian democracy. (Mind you, the US record is even worse.)

Brent Mazerolle has nothing to say that hasn't already appeared in news stories.

Bill Beliveau's column tells us he likes the Liberals. Okay. That's allowed. Then he says that Justin Trudeau has the ability to lead Canada in the changes it needs - I have no idea what he thinks those changes are. And I doubt whether Justin does.

And, I'm not kidding, he says that one of Justin's only fault is he needs a new hair style.

The only saving grace in all of section A is an intelligent and clearly expressed commentary on the underground economy by Rod Hill, a professor of Economics at UNB. It's at most half the length of the editorial and far better written and far more intelligent.

Canada&World has almost no world in it.

One of the big stories on B1 is that New Brunswick's bookmobile program is being cut. It's cheaper to mail books to people. No doubt it is. And no doubt Mr. Irving would approve of that thinking. But the bookmobile is not a business. It doesn't exist to make a profit. It's a service to improve literacy in one of the most illiterate corners of the developed world. We need far greater contact with the illiterate and semi-literate, not less. To cut the little we are doing is the decision of people who are politically and socially illiterate. They could save far more money by having fewer parties for the rich at Larry's Gulch. Gallant's government, like most New Brunswick governments before it, has no sense of priorities.

There's a hilarious Photo on B3 of people protesting against bilingualism in New Brunswick. One is wearing a crest that is a sort of Union Jack with a tiny maple leaf in the middle. (And perhaps humming, "In days of yore from Britain's shore, Wolfe the conquering hero came and planted firm Britannia's flag on Canada's fair domain...")

It is, to say the least, a photo dominated by elderly faces. And it's enough to make me want to lie about my age from now on.  I was thinking that 16 would get me far enough from those people.

On the same page is a photo of former mayor of Toronto Rob Ford. He is angry about schools teaching sex-ed to children. Who could possibly care what Rob Ford thinks about anything? And when did he qualify as an authority and role model for children? Why even print this story?

Worse, this is from an interview with Sun TV host, Ezra Levant - a former gutter journalist for the gutter Toronto Sun, speechwriter for Mike Duffy, and now gutter host for the gutter Sun TV. Any newspaper that would publish this is contemptible.

B4 has a story on the soap opera that is the trial of Mike Duffy.Now, I  have no idea whether Duffy is guilty of any crime.But there is strong  suggestion here that this is a man who is not entirely honest in his behaviour.
Now, for many years he was a reporter, commentator and news editor for CTV news. Does that tell us anything about CTV news standards? Shouldn't a team of journalists be examining the tone he set in his news days? I was particularly struck by his association with Ezra Levant. I cannot imagine that any honest journalist could have a connection with with a hate-monger like Levant.

And that's it for the news.What's missing? Well, I note we haven't seen David Suzuki's or Gwynne Dyer's columns for a long time. It might be the big boss disapproves of their opinions. Or it may just mean they're filling the commentary page with el cheapos. I suspect the latter.

There's nothing on Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, where millions are starving and medical supplies are out because the Saudis are bombing them (with bombs and intelligence guidance to targets courtesy of the US). Food and medical supplies can't get in because the airports have been heavily bombed and the ports are blockaded (with the help of US ships). Starvation has begun, and the danger of epidemic diseases, especially among children, are high. The war now also includes, on the Saudi side, Al Quaeda (remember them -  the worst "terrorists" just a couple of years ago, and now equipped by the US and Saudi Arabia.

Why is this war being fought? Forget the restore democracy stuff. Yemen never had democracy. And the King of  Saudi Arabia is not fond of democracy. Obviously, Saudi is rising to become America's favourite proxy war partner. (US capital is determined these wars must be fought. But it also knows that the American people, while still supportive of war, are not anxious to get personally involved in one. Thus the use of proxies like Saudi Arabia, Israel and, of course, Canada. Odd we get so little news of our forces in Iraq and Syria), My guess is this is a buildup to a war with Iran- and then the big ones with Russia and China.

The great war of the middle ages was the Hundred Years War. The US broke that record a long time ago. It has been at war almost continuously since 1775 - in North America, South America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe. Most of them were wars that even most Americans have never heard of. And who knows how many countries are being hit today with drones, assassination squads, special ops, proxies...?

War is now normal, so normal we don't even expect reporting on it. And it has become war with weapons so indiscriminate in their killing that civilians are now the major victims; in fact they are quite deliberately the major victims, and with children as prized targets. It's quite deliberate.

US capitalism is dying and, like a monster thrashing in its death throes, it's destroying all around it, including all that we were taught America stood for..

Speaking of dying, the Faith Page remains a powerful symbol of why churches are dying. There is an interesting, well-written and intelligent sermonette this time. But - well - it's about how the apostle Paul could be an unpleasant guy to get along with. That's interesting. But Paul's personality is not one of the great issues of our time. The churches, most of them, resolutely refuse to look at the world we live in, and the challenge that world creates for people of all faiths. (Sometimes, I think they believe that if Jesus came back, He'd volunteer to be a bomber pilot or a drone operator. Or an entrepreneur - and get the Order of Canada.)

Tomorrow, for a break, I'll talk about the financial crisis facing our universities. For a hint of the cause, think "EGO".

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