Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 30: The children? Who cares?

It's embarrassing  to see the front page headline on the Times and Transcript. It seems there's a huge fight over whether children have the right to travel on unilinigual school buses. And, in the story, nobody mentioned the only question that counts. How will bilingual buses affect the children? Nobody mentioned it -  including the Times and Transcript.

If the constitution permitted us to roll them to school with logs, would it be okay to do that? Or, perhaps, the constitution will permit us to tape the mouths of each language group on alternate days.

Why are we fighting this as a legal issue? This is about children, living humans. Wouldn't it make sense to discuss this in terms of the needs of children? And, all you anglo rights people, blow the smoke off your Colts, and put them back in their holsters. I went to school from grades 9 to 11 on public transit which, in my end of Montreal was over 90% French. Amazing as it may seem, I grew up still speaking English as my first language - with the cultural advantage of being able to swear in both, official languages. Isti.
(Not sure if that's used among Acadians.)

The other big and fast-breaking story on page 1 is that ridinig a motorcycle is quite safe if one has proper training.

On A3, there's a big, big story about a man who pleaded guilty to child porn charges. A paragraph would have been adequate.  And a local contractor has been fined $2,000 for tax evasion. (No. His name isn't Irving. Mr. Irving would never evade taxes. In fact, we could write a good tax jingle about this, urging people to pay up - "Don't waste your cash in saving.  Pay the tax for Mr. Irving")

Also on A3, the Moncton food back and soup kitchen are closing for holidays. That means many people, including children, have no food at all. There is something very wrong about a society that allows its people to starve - while giving away whole forests to an Irving, and a hundred million dollar hockey rink to another Irving. And if an Irving wanted a hot dog, Mr. Gallant would give him a million dollar forgivable loan to get a really good one.

I admire the volunteers who raised money to feed the hungry. But, in a civilized society, this should not be up to volunteers.

The only  page worth reading is A6, a full page ad by the Public Service Alliance of Canada attacking Harper. Gee, an editor must have noticed these ads. So how come we don't get any news stories on what Harper is doing to cause these ads?
The editorial writer has his knickers in a twist because the provincial government is diverting money from its 'Environmental Trust Fund to other purposes, and making up the loss by charging higher fees for recycling bottles and TV sets.

Well, sure, the government is lying and cheating on this. But it does bigger lying and cheating than that. Where's the story on giving away our forests? On allowing tax cheating for the very rich? On gifts to private companies? Why is Irving giving money to Lac Megantic as compensation? What did he do that requires compensation?

Norbert claims too many of our politicians pander to get the vote. Some certainly do. And it goes back to 1867 and before.  And whose fault is that?

It's the Canadian people. They buy into the pandering every time.  Harper will get lots of votes out of giving us back some of our own money in the child tax credit. Pandering to the voters works. That's why Tommy Douglas was never prime minister of Canada. And the news media add to that with lies and propaganda, almost always favouring the Liberals and Conservatives.

Where has the Irving press been on the nature of the free trade deals that Harper is pushing through.
They effectively destroy democracy, and our control of our own country. Where is your column on that, Norbert? Where is your column on our failure to tax the rich?

Kept ignorant of what is needed in Canada,, voters are easy prey for parties that pander to single and often unimportant issues. The answer is not to change our political system - because that won't have any effect. There are, however, two answers that might help.

1. Encourage people to vote for the basic principles of a party - not for pandering gimmicks.
2. Educate people to know what the major issues are. That's a job for the news media.
3. Tell the the truth.

Rod Allen takes on an important issue - and I can quite agree with his conclusion. It has to do with the lobster fishery, and the quarrel over minimum size for a trapped lobster. Unfortunately, it's obvious he has done no research on it, and so fills his column with folksy but irrelevant anecdotes. And so he takes a serious issue, and makes it trivial.

The guest column is, alas, by the premier of New Brunswick. It's the usual pitch for the oil pipeline and energy (oil) development. And it's okay because the premiers have developed a plan which is foolproof to protect the environment. (And the five million litre oil spill out west? Hey. It happens. Let's move on.)

This is a shallow column written, I suspect, by some party hack.  It's simple-minded, but its simple-mindedness is presented with a writing skill I doubt that the premier has. Count on Gallant. He knows who runs the province - and he's going to go ahead no matter what.

That brings to mind the day I stood on a road not far from Moncton to see the riot police breaking up a crowd of protestors, mostly native, who didn't want fracking on their land. There was nothing new about the riot police. I've seen them many, many times. They were just doing their job.

Then there was the line of men behind them - in camouflage outfits, carrying combat rifles. These were not just police doing their jobs. These were  like the forces that have been developed in the U.S. They were more military than police. And these militarized police have not been trained to 'maintain the right'. They have been trained, like the army, to fight the enemy. And the enemy is us.  Americans have been learning that in a big way.

Our government is the corporations. This new branch of the RCMP are not really police at all. They are the army of the corporations. Unfortunately, that has also happened to the regular RCMP intelligence service. It now (and for some decades) spies on people that corporations don't like - not
 because they have broken any laws, but because they are critical of corporations.

If Alward is the one who ordered that deployment against a demonstration, it was one hell of a dangerous decision, and possibly a criminal one. (Yes. I know a couple people in the crowd had guns. Firing automatic rifles into a crowd because a few might have guns is not a good idea.)

We are approaching a Canada in which I would be ashamed not to have my name on some list for investigation. (Maybe we're already there.)

Alec Bruce has a very interesting column about the permanent legacy of Stephen Harper in converting the justice system into a Conservative enclave. He does it gently. But the message is there.
The Canada&World section does a good job of ignoring both Canada and the world.

The most bizarre story is the one in which a provincial cabinet minister in New Brunswick issued an angry warning to Thomas Mulcair not to spread fear-Mongering over a Miramichi mine that is in trouble. I couldn't understand what Mulcair had said that was fear-mongering. It took me a second reading to realize that Mulcair hasn't said anything about it.

So why do we have a long quotation from a provincial government minister attacking Mulcair for something he never said? I see two possibilities. 1.The news editor has no judgement at all. (In fact, that's already been proven many times. 2. The intention is to make Mulcair look irresponsible. (That's a strong possiblity, too. It's often enough happened in the Irving press.)

B3 has a big story about a U.S. police officer (working as a campus policeman for a university)  has been charged in the murder of a driver. The police officer stopped him because he had no front, licence plate. (Why on earth did a campus police officer carry a gun? And why was  he enforcing a state law?)

Oh. The police officer was white. The driver was black.

Still - why is this story given half a page in a news section that has only five pages to cover the whole world? And how does this have any information vital to Canadian readers? This is typical of the random, possibly ignorant, possibly lazy choice of Irving press editors.

A bigger story might be the one on  how U.S. police officers routinely shoot over a hundred people a month.

There's really nothing in the Canada and World section that tells us much about Canada or the world.

The most important story is only half a column on B4, and it gives little sense of why it's important.
The story is that this world now has over 7 billion people and, by the end of this century, it will be over 11 billion. That's not really good news.

We are not producing enough food now. Long before the end of the century, pollution, climate change, cutting of forests, overfishing will mean we'll have a whole lot less. Will the population really go to over 11 billion? I doubt it very much. Starvation will take care of that problem - not to mention thirst as our climate changes, and as our waterways become even greater carriers of industrial and agricultural pollution.

There's also a concern about Europe and North America developing a high proportion of their people to live over 60. But don't worry about that. The current western drive to destroy medicare and replace it with private for profit schemes will take care of people who live too long.

And don't worry about the pollution from refineries in St. John.  Rising water levels as a result of climate change will take care of that.

What's interesting about this story is what it doesn't say about long term planning to deal with any of this. That's because there is none. Capitalism doesn't work on long term planning. The only goal is the next quarterly report. And the only motive is greed.

Looking a little bit further than your average capitalist, and only a little bit, I can see protesters who are concerned about the future facing special RCMP officers in camouflage and carrying combat rifles. If you doubt it, read premier Gallant's Commentary on A 11.
                                                                                                                                                     An interesting site for New Brunswickers is Upriver Environment Watch (recently renamed Kent County Environment Watch). This is notable for some very intelligent posts.  Here is a sample:

Charles Theriault
July 29 at 9:17pm
Miramichi and Edmunston are getting new nursing homes to replace outdated buildings creating squalid living conditions. The one in Edmunston is a publicly constructed and operated endeavor. The 200+ staff will maintain seniority, benefits, salary and pensions. The one in the Miramichi is a P3. which means it is a privately funded and operated for profit endeavor. All former 200+ staff will be fired and not all rehired.
They are expecting loss of seniority, less or no benefits. reduced salaries and loss of pensions.
That is the way of P3's. Why should we accept less in the Miramichi River Area than they receive elsewhere in NB?
WHY? Thank you for sharing

Ah, the joys of privatizing.
This one is from an interesting site called Jewniverse. In this case, it's the story of a Jewish boy of   18 who shot a German official in 1938. That gave Hitler the excuse he needed to inflame German Christians, and send them on rampages through Jewish districts, murdering, looting and burning. It was the night called krystallnacht that set the stage for the roundup and mass murder of Jews.

That boy's face is one I am sure I shall never forget.
By Zachary Solomon
The Jewish Boy Who Shot the German Diplomat

Herschel Grynszpan
 was­­­n’t yet eighteen when, on November 7, 1938, he took 300 francs from his impoverished uncle, bought a revolver, marched into the German embassy in Paris, and shot German diplomat Ernst vom Rath five times in the abdomen.
But this was no random act of violence. Grynszpan, shy but fiercely emotional, was born in Poland, the son of a tailor. Hoping for a better life, his family had relocated to Hanover, where they remained until, in August 1938, German authorities cancelled residence permits for foreigners. The Grynszpans, along with 12,000 other Polish Jews, were deported to Poland, only to be denied entry due to a recent edict cancelling Polish citizenship for expat Jews.
Sick and tired of the way his family—and Jews the continent over—were being treated, Grynszpan fumed, growing angrier by the day. According to French police, Grynszpan “acted in the name of the 12,000 persecuted Jews.”
Immediately after Vom Rath was killed, Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels declared: It would not be surprising if the German people were so outraged at this attack by “the forces of international Jewry” that they took the law into their own hands and attacked Jewish businesses.
And thus Kristallnacht and mass arrests of German Jews began. The rest, other than Grynszpan’s fate, you already know.
To go with this, you can find a Charlie Chaplin film called "The Great Dictator". It is about Hitler, and it's a brilliant film. But the very wealthy of the U.S. (both Christians and Jews) never forgave Chaplin for it. The called him a premature anti-fascist, enlarged on it by calling him a communist - and forced  him to leave the U.S.

Finally, a light touch. I found Pravda, the Russian news service. Russia, China, Canada, the U.S. and Europe are much alike. They're all run by billionaires, and they all have heavily biased news media.
Pravda is like most North American news. It's essentially propaganda. But it's more skilfully done. It's not loaded with outright lies like US propaganda. And it's not sheer, brainless crap like the Irving press.


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