Friday, June 26, 2015

June 26: "Realtors hope cottage country market will pick up"

That's on page A1. And that's not a story. It's like "Tourists hope to enjoy NB", or "Lobster fishermen hope to catch some lobsters". Now, if the story were  "Realtors hope cottage country market will collapse" or "Tourists hope to be miserable in NB", that would be a story. Otherwise, this is just a waste of reporters by a news medium that doesn't have enough of them in the first place.

It could be a story if it had a headline like "Cottage sales are slow". But the story never says they're slow. So what is this all about? I have no idea. This is just front page space filled up with pointless natter. It's careless and sloppy work by the assignment editor, and ditto by the front page editor. I get the impression that all the editorial staff at Irving press are either incompetent or just don't give a damn.

And, once more, the editorial writer proves he has nothing to say about anything. Pointe-du-Chene has a great beach. That's it. It takes the  writer a third of a page to say that.   Isn't there anybody at that paper who can say more intelligent things about more important matters? Usually, editorial writers meet with other editorial staff to decide on the day's topic, and to reach some agreement on what the topic will be and the tone the editorial should set. If this sort of thing is the best they can do, that must be one, dozy bunch of editors. There's a big world out there. And, yes, it really does affect us. Is nobody at that paper capable of writing about it?

And the TandT is part of a chain which adds up to a sizable market. Couldn't it run all the papers as if they were one?  With inserts for local news in each paper? Then they could jointly publish knowledgeable journalists like Gwynne Dyer for the editorial and commentary pages.

Norbert, once again, has a column about our provincial financial condition without bothering to first find out  why we have such a financial condition.  I know health care and education cost money.  But that's not the starting point. The starting points are - what is it the people of New Brunswick need?. What are our priorities? If our priority is to make the rich richer, then we're doing great. If our priority is to keep as many NBers illiterate as possible, we're a world leader. If our priority is keeping them uninformed, the Irving press is masterful.

But let's suppose, just for laughs, that our priority is to serve the people of New Brunswick - to educate them, to inform them fully and honestly, to keep them healthy.... Then  we're ready for the next stage in our thinking.

Why are we short of the money to do that?  Hint - Norbert. You've heard of the wage gap? You've heard of government hand-outs and favours to private business? You've heard of low taxes for the rich? You've heard of hidden profits in offshore banks?

The recession the world is going through was not caused by New Brunswickers who were too lazy to work. It was caused by banks and other corporations who handled their money unwisely, irreponsibilty, and even illegally - and then forced us to pay them for the damage they had done. That's what the recession is about.

It's much like what happened to Greece. A series of very corrupt governments (and corrupt governments get that way by dealing with corrupting corporations).  gave the country such a huge debt that it can never be paid. The banks who loaned the money know that. They knew, when they loaned the money, who was really getting it and they knew the loans would drive the country into hopeless debt. But they loaned the money anyway, knowing it would drive the whole Greek nation into a debt they could never pay.. And Greece is not the only country this is happening to.

It's happening to the US. It's happening to Canada. It's happening to Spain. And, oh, it's good for business. It drives down salaries in countries like Haiti and Guatemala that the rich bleed with salaries of five dollars a day or less, with no health or education services. Our own rich love that for the high profits it gives them. That's why we have a wage gap here, too. That's why it's getting worse.

It's pretty stupid because it's  causing violence, probably with severe violence coming in a country not far from our Canadian readers.   It's forcing countries around the world to realign their foreign policies. Greece is meeting with Russia now. This could mean Greece pulling out of the European Union to align itself with Russia. And that, combined with European fears of American aggressiveness and expansion,  could be the beginning of the end for the European Union.

Wake up and smell the flowers, Norbert. Very rich people in the US, China, Russia, Canada, and others have their eyes (and their hands) on world dominance, a dominance that will enable them to ignore governments, to ignore laws, to ignore human rights - and we're almost there. Our enemies are not the Americans or the Chinese or the Russians. Our enemies are the very rich  of those countries who have all but destroyed democracy, and who have spread poverty, hunger, and terror all over the world.

They're getting close to what they want.  And your paper won't say a word about it because it, too, like almost all news media, is owned a handful of those very  rich. They're greedy. They're murderous. And they are hopelessly incapable of operating a government,  not a world government or even a government of New Brunswick.

They like to call themselves entrepreneurs because it sounds more sophisticated than capitalists. But they aren't capitalists, either. Far from being the courageous and risk-taking adventurers they claim to be, they are leeches who create and who live off poverty.

Here in New Brunswick, the Saillants of this little world will say that we must help them to get rich because a)if they get rich, it will trickle down to us and b)if we're not nice to them, they'll leave. But
a) it won't trickle down. We have a world out there to prove that making the rich richer is a process than means making the rest of us poorer. b)They might leave if we don't let them rob us? Great. Let them leave. That would save us piles of money. (Too bad prof. Saillant never touched on this aspect in his magnum opus.)

The only commentary worth reading is "Let's give Canadians the pension system they need." I'm not saying this is a good article because I   don't know enough about pension plans. But it does raise a problem that could take us back into the Canada that was - in its dreadful days before government pensions because, today, n the private sector, only 24% of Canadians have company pension plans.

But don't worry. I'm sure the top 1% have adequate pension plans.

It's going to be very hard to change what is happening to our world. But life is going to be very, very hard if we don't.

Canada&World begins with a headline that poverty is increasing in New Brunswick. But not to worry. It's only increasing among the poor. The rich have been getting richer since the start of the recession. By Norbert's thinking, that's great because we'll soon all get rich as the money pours down to us. Just like Haiti.

The first page also has a well-done news report by John Chilibeck. "First Nations voice attack mine plan." This is a plan for a tungsten mine at Sissons Brook, and it's a major test of whether we have learned anything from the report on our treatment of Native Peoples.

They are very much opposed to the mine. And there's a legal case that this is native land. If reconciliation means anything at all, the company must get the consent of Native peoples involved - or it  (and we) must back off.

On B3, Harper attacks the Liberasl and NDP for wanting to be friends with Iran. Harper says Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. Please. The world's biggest terrorist and biggest sponsor of terrorism is our good neighbour, the United States. This is the country that accused Cuba of being a terrorist state when the US had been making terrorist attacks on Cuba, including bombing a civil airliner killing all aboard, and this at a time when Cuba had attacked nobody.

 We have lots of terrorist friends - Britain, France, Saudi Arabia..... The US has been drone bombing Pakistan and Yemen for years, killing thousands of innocent people. That's terrorism. It has provided money and training for Al Quaeda. That's terrorism. It is now supplying bombs for the Saudis to kill civilians in Yemen. That's terrorism. The US created several million refugees in Iraq, and is a major cause of the conflicts in the middle east which have created well over 65 million homeless refugees. It has sponsored a rebellion in Syria which, in addition to massive killing, has created 2,000,000 orphans. That war in Vietnam was a terrorist war, deliberately aimed at civilians with napalm and agent orange, and killing, at the most conservative estimate, over 3,000,000 innocent people. Then there was the intense bombing of Cambodia, deliberately aimed at civilians to, as it was delicately put, "send Cambodia back to the stone age".

All wars have always been wars of terror. But, from 1914 on, the murder of civilians has been a major strategic purpose of all warfare by all sides. Including Canada.And that's terrorism.

So, Stephen, why are we killing people in Syria and Iraq?

On B5, it's Harper again, this time on the monument to victims of communism that he wants to build in Ottawa. As I've said in an earlier blog, to make it just to victims of communism is pure politics, and cheapens it. The world has had lots of victims lost to capitalism - in fact, more than to communism. We might also remember the destruction of millions of native peoples in the Americas.

The reporter tells us that Harper's aversion to communism is well documented. Gee. It must have taken real courage for Harper to speak out and say he was opposed to communism. And he said, "It's a poisonous ideology". It's good speech to draw the moron crowd. However, communist ideology has never been put into practice anywhere in the world. In that respect, it's very similar to capitalist ideology.

But, certainly, what was put into practice in both cases, was and is poisonous. And I'm not crazy enough to prefer one poison over another.

B8 has the story of the NATO commander who says there is a new risk of heavy fighting in Ukraine. He the same commander who told the same story in yesterday's paper. And you know who's causing the trouble? It's the Russians because they don't want American troops and missiles on their border. Gee! How aggressive of the Russian! I'm sure the US government wouldn't object at all the Russians putting  troops and missiles on the American border.

There are people in the US who want a war with Russia. They want control (and ownership) of the Russian economy,. This is old-fashioned empire-building - except now U.S. 'capitalists' are willing to risk exposing all of us to nuclear war so they can get what they want.

This goes beyond greed, beyond immorality to insanity.

B9 has a headline, "Islamic State extremists attack two  Kurdish cities in Syria".  Gosh, I would have thought that anybody who charges around killing people is an extremist. Dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was surely extreme. Killing way over a million Iraqis was extreme. Killing many millions of Vietnamese was extreme, wasn't it?

So how come the papers never call it extremism when we do it?
A long time ago, I was in grade nine. I enjoyed writing because it was about the only thing I could do at that level. Later, I would teach grade nine. Today, on page C3, I read the column of Mhairi Agnew, a student columnist. The writing was better than anything I did in grade nine. It was better than anyone I taught in grade nine.  It was better than many I taught in university.

So - I'm going to stick my neck out, and suggest her next stage because she's more than ready to move on. She has the amateur title locked up. Now, she has to get ready for the pros.

I would suggest that for her next step, she has to make contact with the reader. A weakness of most of the editorials and commentaries in the Irving press is that they don't do that. But the reader needs to see himself or herself in a column like this. And they need to know how YOU feel in a column like today's.  What were you personal feelings when they got your name wrong? That gives the reader something to relate to, perhaps even a sense of sharing with you - a sense that what you say isn't just a story but an experience you have in common.

It reminded me of the first day I taught. I was a supply teacher, perhaps twenty years old. At recess, I was assigned to yard duty. A student was ahead of me getting into the yard. I heard a voice calling to him. "Who ya got teachin' t'day?"

"Oh, just old man Decarie."

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