Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 23: Quality of Irving press in decline

I wouldn't have thought it possible. But foreign news of any significance has just about disappeared in the Times and Transcript. As for the commentary page, it commonly has one column a day that comes from a special interest group or a propaganda house - and it almost certainly comes free. The editorial, never a shining star, is routinely just brainless. Then there's the firing of all photographers, along with the old double-tasking of reporters by making them commentators - and all this comes at a time when the first Irving ever to get a degree in journalism has taken the fasest rise through the ranks in journalistic history to be come VP of the Irving press. I can't see anything he has done that would come from any decent school of journalism. I suspect he has to prove that he's a true Irving worthy of even higher rank by showing he doesn't give a damn for anything except making a profit. Which reminds me.

I was sent the URL below by a reader who assures me it's satire.


Then, there's a very strange item in today's paper. It's on B1. The federal government is laying charges against six people concerning the Lac Megantic disaster that killed 47 people. All are or were employed by the railway company. Three of them face maximum penalties of fifty thousand dollars or six months in jail for killing 47 people.  The lowest ranking and, probably most innocent of them faces life.

Very odd. Didn't the shipper know that the railway had a bad record for running on the cheap? For being slack with maintenance? Didn't the shippers know that the tank cars were dangerous? Didn't they know that it was dangerous to send one driver on such a long delivery? And weren't we told at the time that the shippers signed a false manifesto about the nature of the cargo? One which made it seem safer than it was?

And, as we were told not long ago, the shipper 'generously' paid Lac Megantic some millions for people killed and for city damage?  The 'gift' was delivered in terms that suggested some responsibility. And, frankly, it is impossible to believe that Irving was not aware of all the faults of that railway, and of the dangers of that shipment. Irving probably got a bargain price. And Irving probably knew why. How come no charge?

And why oh why did it take the federal government so long (two years) to lay these charges when it knew all about the problem long before 47 people got killed?

Perhaps we should all go to sit in prayer and ponder all this in the presence of God at the Irving Chapel. Ooh - or maybe the sermonette on Saturday's faith page will discuss it.  (Nah. That'll be "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam" again.


The item above is worth looking at - so it doesn't come from the Irving press. It's quite remarkable coming from former Senator Hugh Segal whose thinking is usually somewhere to the right of Atilla the Hun. He was a major advisor to Brian Mulroney, perhaps the sleaziest prime minister in Canadian history. (cross out the perhaps).

I met Segal only once. I had been asked to chair a national meeting in Ottawa - not realizing it was to be essentially an indoctrination session for middle level execs who had completed master's programmes in business. The organizer was Segal. And it was pure, far-right propaganda. That's why the article above astonished me.

Read it. And compare it with that book on New Brunswick's debt crisis by an eminent and respected professor of 1920s economics at U de Moncton.

Also missing in today's Irving press is what is surely the biggest story. It comes from researchers at pretty eminent universities - Stanford, Princeton, and Berkeley,  These researches show that, due to deforestation, climate change,, and massive pollution, plant and animal species (including people) are
vanishing at the fastest rate in sixty five million  years. We will be one of the earlier species to become extinct. So we have very little time to deal with it.

Check it out at  http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/earth-is-entering-sixth-extinction-phase-with-many-species--including-our-own--labelled-the-walking-dead-10333608.html

(Duh. Shale gas and a pipeline will create jobs.)

The Independent is a British paper with a reputation for being contrary, and running news that the Irving presses of this  world wouldn't touch.
Oh, and Fox News has a story that, for it, is unusual because it's probably true. The US is massing troops and heavy weapons, sucli as tanks on the Russian border. No big deal? Okay. Imagine Russia was massing troops and tanks along the Rio Grande. What do you think would happen?

Finally, and not in our news, The Globe reports that the supply of nurses has fallen for the first time in 20 years. But not to worry. We'l just privatize health,,run it as a business, and get rid of nurses altogether.
I've barely mentioned the Irving press. That's because there's little to mention. The front page headline, the editorial, and the commentaries of Alan Cochrane and Alec Bruce are all about pitching for the events centre (hockey rink). None of them has anything new to say. They all say that building
it will pour untold wealth over Moncton. Tell you what guys, if that's true, you can't possibly let governments at any level build it. As this paper never tires of telling us, government always messes these things up. Only private business knows how to do important things. So - let private business do it.- for example, let the owner of the hockey team do it. He's the one who stands to gain most. And, as we know from economics experts at UdeM, if we allow men like him to get rich(er), then wealth will pour down on us, too.
And, if it doesn't work out, we could give him a ticket for the food bank - if we still have one.

Norbert's column is respectable. Not very informative or useful, but respectable.

The last one is about tax freedom day, and it comes from your favourite far right wing propaganda house, The Fraser Institute. This, I suspect, is one of the freebies that makes the Irvving press profitable.

Tax Freedom day is the day when the average family's full income to that date equals its yearly taxes.
But, hey, I know how we could really shorten that. Instead of calculating the average family taxation, calculate it just on the very rich. Then we could all celebrate tax freedom day on January 1.

In terms of interest, the rest of section A scores slightly below gazing at your own belly button.

Canada&World has some stories worth reading. On B1, Green   Party leader David Coon charges that Trans-Canada Pipelines has not followed legal requirements to register its proposed pipeline through NB for environmental impact. Well, yes. But, it's being built by Mr. Irving who has often said he loves New Brunswick. And if you can't trust Mr. Irving, who can you trust?

B2 has a big story about the proposed Sissons mine. Essentially, there are two sides. One side is concerned about the high potential for serious environmental damage. The other is the "Duh, it'll create jobs" side.

Finally, B6 has "U.S. to provide weapons aircraft, commandos to aid with NATO rapid response force.",  This is aimed at Russia, of course. That's a little odd since the world's most aggressive country for the last 65 years has not been Russia. It's been the US.

But note that though the US will supply weapons and aircraft, it will not provide conventional ground troops, only a small number of "commandos" which, these days, means assassins. What that means is that the US wants Europeans (and, probably Canadians) to fight wars to make American billionaires richer. And that may suggest that while the American people will talk war, they don't want to fight one themselves - or it may mean that the government realizes that American society has become too unstable and fragile to risk a war.

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