Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 24: It's been a hectic day....

.....of computer crisis as I spent hours trying to make my computer work. So this is a late one. I've been using computers for over thirty years. But one learns something new every day. Today, I learned that if you want it to work, you have a push a button to turn it on.

First, I strongly advise all to read a book by  Gwynne Dyer, "With Every Mistake" (Random House Canada). It's a collection of his newspaper columns with frank analysis of each to show where he was proved to be wrong. Best of all, is his introduction which is a crushing analysis of how almost all our news media became liars, trivialists and propaganda houses. That includes Canada's Globe and Mail, and the US' New York Times and the Washington Post. Almost all news media in North America are owned by 10 or so very, very wealthy people. And they're used they've for propaganda and manipulation.

I know of only two or three daily news sources in  English in the western world that I would trust. None of them is in North America. The BBC is not on the list. The CBC is - sort of - but it's only as honest as Harper allows it to be. It has good journalists. But it lives with the constant threat of privatization.

Dyer also has some personal glimpses of major journalism owners he has known. Conrad Black, for example, comes out as an egotistic ass. But Dyer is too kind. I, too, have known Black. He much overrates his intelligence, and listens only to himself. And of wisdom, he has none at all. He has an almost mental illness in a craze to be admired and listened to. His wife, Barbara Amiel, is much like him - but with even more self-interest than Conrad has. Dyer is equally blunt about other giants in the private news media.

On p. A1, Moncton native David Booth was given a forgivable loan of $250,000 dollars from the provincial government and a payroll rebate of some $96,000 to open an office in Moncton for his company. And he assures us he didn't pull any strings to get it.


Actually, I don't give a damn whether he pulled strings. This is a government that has people going hungry in the streets of Moncton and all over the province. They have to depend on the Rotary Club or some other group that gets a charge out of having its pictures in the paper holding up big cheques for charity.

Tell you what, Mr. Gallanr. In future, give that money to those who need it to stay alive. And tell the Booths of this world to ask Rotary Club or some other cheerful charlies to beg for money for them on Main St.

A political party should have as a first priority the welfare of the people it governs. You start with the people; then you build the policies. But neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives does that. They let people go hungry and homeless. -    but they have lots of welfare for corporate bums.

Besides, I thought that capitalism was the system in which people of courage took risks to go out on their own to make their fortunes. Yes, small capitalists do that. But not the big ones. American and Canadian capitalists caused this recession by actions that were often, to say the least, questionable. Many of them should probably have ended up in jail. Instead, we handed over billions upon billions to them. And we lowered their taxes (which they don't pay anyway). And, we are daily being told we - not the rich - have to pay for damage they caused.

The only word for that, Mr. Gallant, is contemptible. And pass it on to the whole, damn party and the Conservatives.
The editorial is brainless and pointless. There are things in today's news worth talking about - the front page story about yet another company getting a forgivable loan is one of them. But that would offend the boss. So the editorial writer writes in his usual phantasy world and babbles about the new and greater Moncton that is supposedly on the horizon.

Norbert had a good streak going - but it ended today. He talks about the wisdom of cutting the education budget. Norbert - you have never taught. Not one day. You have never trained in Education. You don't know what you're talking about.

You say we don't need as many schools or teachers because enrollment has been declining Norbert, you twit. Didn't it occur to you that the system may have been understaffed in the first place? When I started teaching elementary school and high school in Montreal, the board apologized to us because the classes were way to big for effective teaching. But, years later, as its enrollment declined, it didn't cut the size of the classes. It fired teachers, and kept the oversized classes.

Norbert, what is a good ratio of students to teachers? Do you know?  Of course not. All you know is that taxes have to be raised so we can provide more welfare for the Irvings of this world.

He concludes "We're in this together. We created this together." Bullshit, Norbert. We're not in this together. The rich are making no sacrifices. In fact, they are making more money than ever. The rest of us are in this alone. And we didn't create this together. Toadie politicians of the Liberal and Conservative parties did it by allowing the very rich to create a recession, then making us pay for it. So now we have to cut everything except handing out welfare cheques to the rich.

Brian Cormier has his usual, pointless little story.

There's a good commentary "Are inmates' medical problems any less serious than anyone else's?" It makes an excellent point about our reliance on punishment as a way to deal with crime. But it also has something I've never seen before in an Irving press commentary. In the third paragraph, the editor intervenes to clarify a point made by the writers.  The editor's comment is true enough ....but it's a very small point in the context of the whole article. So why do it? I've often seen commentaries in the Irving press that are outright lies - with no comment whatever from the editor.

Alec Bruce has a column with a good deal of truth in it. Yes. Gallant is getting very unpopular. But we all know that. He says voters are disillusioned with parties on the left, centre and right. Alec, what are  you talking about? There is no left in New Brunswick. It has two centre parties, the Greens and the NDP. It doesn't have any right wing parties. It just has the Liberals and Conservatives, neither of whom has any philosophy I can detect or any principles;  and both of whom are simply stooges for the rich.

And why don't New Brunswickers know any better than to vote for two parties of stooges? Because they don't get any information from the Irving press - just propaganda, trivia and lies.
Canada&World does have stories that deserve comment - but that did not occur to anybody on the editorial and commentary pages.

The lead headline in Section B is that the provincial government is lax in monitoring crown forest lands. Private companies (6 big ones) are allowed to cut pretty much whatever they want, any way they want, with no concern for the long-term (or short-term) impact.

The companies pay $65 million a year for the right to cut and take that timber. BUT - the government pays them MORE than $65 million a year to those companies to manage those properties. WHAT?
Yes. That's what the story says. And, the provincial  government has never stirred itself to check on what's going on in that management.

So we are paying from 72 to 75 million to very, very wealthy people to cut down our trees, and market the wood for themselves. And we have no idea of what damage they may be causing. And we're losing money on the deal.

Mr. Editorial writer, do you think you could muster sufficient integrity to write an editorial about that?

No. I thought not.

Mr. assignment  editor, do you think you have enough integrity to assign reporters to get a fuller story on this?

 No. Of course not.

Below that is the story of how we are sending 200 troops to help train the Ukraine army. We are sending them just as the ceasefire is breaking down, just as the US is committing major forces in countries bordering Russia, just as a full scale war could break out.

And we are sending them to protect the "democratic values" of a government made up of international bankers who are bleeding the country, and of Naziis (the real thing). It's also an illegal government since it's based on the overthrow of an elected one.

And, if a full-fledged war breaks out, do you seriously think it will be possible for Canada to get those troops out? Like it or not, if a full war breaks out, we are part of it. And on Nov. 11, we'll hear speeches about how they died to preserve freedom. In fact, there is no freedom in Ukraine to preserve. If any die, they will die because Harper sent them in order that he could get the Ukrainian Canadian vote in the coming election.

And if they die, they will die without our government ever having declared war. So what will they do with the old Nov. 11 speech that our soldiers in World War 1 died to win us the right to declare war through our own government? (Actually, that old Nov. 11 speech is also a lie.)

Would this make a good subject for Norbert? No, because he knows even less about history than he does about education.

Page B6 has an important story that our news media aren't asking many questions about. It's the Trans-Pacific Partnership which will be okayed by the US very soon. Americans know almost nothing about it. And their news media aren't telling them anything.  Ditto for Canada. This a deal designed by big business for big business. It almost certainly gives big business to right to do whatever it likes without regard for the environment or for its impact on the rest of us. It almost makes nuclear war preferable. But  we've had nothing on the editorial page or the commentary page about it.

What's happening in Yemen? Who knows? Why is Saudi Arabia fighting this war? How many innocent people have been killed? How many millions are starving? Who cares?

What's happening with the concentration of US warships near the South China Sea? Who cares?

Is the story about the US US giving support to Al Quaeda true? Why has the US been supporting rebellion in Syria that is being fought largely by mercenaries? What's the story on Bush and Blair being sued by a major, US national association of lawyers for war crimes? If the US is so hot on supporting Iraq, why is it playing hands off? Why are Canadian pilots killing people in Iraq and Syria? Why are we hearing nothing about them? The US bombs with drones every day, killing uncounted innocent people. Why is there no news about that?

Du-u-u-u-h, says the Irving press.

It is not possible to have a democracy in a province in which the people have no information. It is not possible to have a real democracy, when so many of its people have so little education and so many can't even read.

And it does not help when the people of that province seem to think that the world ends at their borders, and that what happens elsewhere will never affect us. World Wars one and two and Korea and Afghanistan and now, Iraq and Syria and Ukraine most certainly did or will affect us and affect us profoundly. Similarly, the people of New Brunswick did not cause the recession. But they got it anyway. (well, yeah, the rich ones didn't.)

The people of New Brunswick are abused, and have been from the start, by their political and economic leaders, and by most of their news media. But, dammit, the abuse will certainly not be stopped by those political and economic leaders. It's the people of New Brunswick who have to demand far better access to education for all age groups, who have to demand that the very rich be made to pay taxes, who have to demand news media that tell the truth, and who have to muster the courage to speak freely and publicly as free people.

But if the people of New Brunswick just stand there, they will continue to be abused, and this province is heading for dark, dark times, indeed.

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