Saturday, August 15, 2015

August 15: I'm glad I read section A....


Otherwise, I would never know that there's a man accused of drug smuggling who doesn't have a lawyer. And I would never experience the warm symbolism of the colour photo of the Irving Memorial Chapel as a reminder of how closely our economic masters are linked to the word of God.

I always look at the obituary page because it's usually the most interesting one in section A. This time, struck by the number of relatively young people in the obituaries, I checked on life expectancies in New Brunswick. Most of the population is very similar to the rest of Canada in life expectancy - BUT -  it is significantly different for native peoples whose average life span is some twenty years shorter.

Isn't this something we should know about?  After all, if Irvings were dying younger the Irving press would be talking about nothing else. Why hasn't the Irving press noticed this? Why hasn't it looked into the reasons for it?

In fact,  there are a lot of stories screaming for the attention of section A. For example, why did  JD Irving Ltd. pay a large settlement for the train accident at Lac Megantic?  We've never had an explanation of that - though such a payment usually is a way of avoiding trial when a company has done something wrong.

And please don't tell me that the settlement was made out of sheer generosity and Christian love. If that had been the case, we would have been smothered with stories about brand new halls of fame all over the province to celebrate the generosity of the great one.

Have our secret police ever investigated this accident? Why not? It killed far more people than any terrorist in Canadian history has.

And whatever happened to the story of Oland of Oland's brewery who was suspected of killing his father? Heck, if we have a big story about a drug smuggler who doesn't have a lawyer, we should certainly know about a man accused of killing his father.

And, while it's nice to know how city councillors voted on borrowing 95 million to build a hockey rink, shouldn't we know who was the person pushing for the hockey rink? And shouldn't we know why the Irving press never had a single column that was critical of that expenditure?

Of course, it's possible that New Brunswickers just like getting screwed. They've certainly put up with a lot of it.
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The editorial is interesting - for what it doesn't say. It congratulates Acadians on saving their language. (It also adds culture to the list. But that's not true. Cultures can't be preserved. Cultures are the way we react to the world. And the world is always changing. My French ancestors came to Quebec in the 1640s. But  no Decarie of the last century and more has had the same culture as Jean Decarie of the 1640s. Quebec, with its declared passion for saving culture has little resemblance to the Quebec even of my childhood. Indeed, at the height of separatist enthusiasm, the government was unable to come up even with a definition of what Quebecois culture was.)

Then, in an unintentional slip of racism, the editorial writer says we are made up of people who came to Canada as a result of war, famine or oppression. Uh- Mr. editorial writer,   there were people here before us, long before. And they couldn't escape war, famine or oppression because we brought it to them.

A letter to the editor makes the same mistake. It insists we remember that Germans were among the "pioneering families' of New Brunswick. No, they weren't. The pioneering families were already here, and had been here for millenia.

So, tell us what the Acadians, English, Irish, Scots and Germans did to the aboriginal people and their culture.

Norbert shows in his column that  he thinks education is a business, and the main thing is to make sure it cuts costs. Right, Norbert. You cheered endlessly for a 94 million (and counting) hockey rink just for Moncton. But children? Who needs them? Won't hurt them to ride a bus for a couple of hours a day.

Norbert talks about nothing but money in this. But he doesn't really care even about that. If he did, he's have a  column about how revenue Canada and New Brunswick should be cracking down on taxation of the very rich.

Education is not just about the number of classrooms and the number of buses. Education and government (and health) are about people. And I''m astonished  that the people we hear from on the this - the school boards, the government, and the news media - have no sense of what is needed for the formation of children. All they are capable of is counting the number of chairs per classroom. The children don't exist except as numbers.

For example - what is important to younger children? To the older ones? What are the conditions they need to learn in? What will be the impact on communities? Rural New Brunswick is largely cut off from the larger world. It has dreadfully high illiteracy, lack of knowledge of what's happening beyond the nearest gas station. Why aren't we looking at adult education at adult learning/social events in rural and small town New Brunswick?          

Oh, but we can't do that because then the rich would have to pay their taxes. Worse, the school boards seem to be made up of people who know nothing whatever about education, and who have no imagination. And, as I read Norbert's column, I see that our press has the same limitations.

Brent Mazerolle has, alas, another bedtime story for a column. Suzuki, though, is a must read on the damage mining is doing to Canada. Our mining companies have already destroyed life in much of Central America and, increasingly, they're bringing their sloppy and cheap methods to Canada. There must be a special hell for mining stock owners.

The guest column is good medical advice about children with diabetes. Unforunately, it's bad journalism. Many people, perhaps most, will read only the first paragraph or so of a story. To hold them, one has to write in a clear and simple manner. Take a look at Mazerolle's column. It really has nothing to say - but people will read it because Mazerolle knows how to write for his audience.

The column on diabetes is too long and too wordy. Too bad - because it's a useful column.
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Canada&World begins with a story the news editor should have refused to run. The reporter who did this story did something highly unethical in the first paragraph. He or she refers to "the NDP's less-than-stellar credentials as guardians of the public purse".

1. Whatever the reporter's opinion might be of NDP economics, it is a personal opinion. It is not part of a news story. A news editor who's conscious and literate should know that. Hell, it's in the first paragraph. And it's a very basic rule.

It was my understanding that the VP of Irving press (also named Irving) has a master's degree in journalism. But I see errors like this constantly in the Irving papers, and it seems to be getting worse.

2.  How can the NDP have bad credentials as guardian of the public purse when it has never been the government?

3. Didn't that twit of a reporter take the trouble to look at the economic credentials of the Harper Conservatives? Of the New Brunswick Liberals and the New Brunswick Conservatives?

4. In fact, if this reporter knew anything, he or she would know that the worst spenders in North America have been right wing parties - by far.

Lots of governments all over the world are in trouble because of a capitalism that is viciously and wildly out of control.  The Irving press tells that New Brunswick is in trouble - but it doesn't blame the Irvings or the Liberals or the Conservatives. No, No, No. It's us lazy people who don't work hard enough to deserve minimum wage. And we have to pay the price for our laziness. It's either us or the NDP that's at fault..

Perhaps the news editor will become ethical and assign a story on which parties and which social class are doing the economic damage.

Or perhaps not.

Premier Gallant, on the same page, pledges to improve education. Too bad he doesn't say how.

The most bizarre story is also on B1. "Kerry calls for 'genuine democracy' as U.S flag rises over new Cuba embassy".  This comes from a man whose country has overthrown democracies all over the world in places like Iran and Egypt, a country that has imposed dictatorships and stooge presidents all over Central America, a country in which all "democratically" elected people have been bought beforehand by billionaires, a government that is one of the most corrupt in the world.

Oh, and Cuba also has to be better on civil rights. Obviously, Mr. Kerry has never heard of American torture or hellish prisons, and people tried by bogus military courts, or murdered by drones, or spied on because of their religion. And the weird thing is some people will  suck all this up with choruses of God bless America.

The reporter also writes this up as though Cubans were rejoicing at the chance of being 'free' like Americans.

At last, there's a long report on Canadian jets in Iraq and Syria. The big story is - we can't be told anything.

There's really nothing in Canada&World. Millions are starving to death in Yemen, thanks to our good ol' buddies in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. But not a word in the Irving press. Who bloody cares? Right?

As for the middle east, U.S. policy has been a worsening disaster ever since Bush invaded Iraq. It's going to get worse. Much worse. But not to worry. There's nothing to worry of even think about it you  turn to section C, p. 1.

Princess Anne is 65. Songwriter Jimmy Webb is 69. The news YOU need, when YOU need it.

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The Faith Page has a special - a trip the Holy land for less than $4,000. A Caution, though. I correspond with friends who live there, so I asked them what it's like to be in Israel. The reply -
"Have you ever been in a war zone?"  And they weren't referring to the Palestinians.

And, in this world in which millions are starving to death or being murdered or enslaved in our foreign mines, a world in which much of our population - and worse in the U.S. - are living below the poverty line with millions homeless and hungry (including 1.5 million homeless children in the U.S), In this world you must read the Sermonette.. It's about how summer doesn't have to mean a vacation from God.

Tweet. Tweet.

Never date anybody who writes for the Faith page. I offer that advice to people of all genders and the undecided.

For something more intelligent, go to student columnist Amanda Cormier on C3.

Now, let's look to something that didn't make the paper.
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Newsweek: Chelsea Manning Faces Solitary Confinement for Having Caitlyn Jenner Magazine, Other Infractions
Trevor Timm, Freedom of the Press Foundation: Chelsea Manning Threatened with ‘Indefinite Solitary Confinement’ for Expired Toothpaste and Asking for a Lawyer
BuzzFeed News: Chelsea Manning Faces Solitary Confinement Under New Charges, Lawyer Says

In the U.S. a young woman has been sentenced to 35 years in prison - and in indefinite solitary confinement for supplying Wikileaks with photos of American airmen deliberately killing civilians. This is the real God Bless America, land of the free   where the most dangerous thing you can do is to tell the truth.

Below, is a petition which I signed to support her. And, yes, this is the same America that Kerry wants Cuba to become.

info@rootsaction.org via mail.salsalabs.net 


Finally, a reader sent me the following note. I'll call it Lest we forget.



4 comments:

  1. My feeling is that Gallant is going to close down some schools to "improve" education and use the money to invest it in a centralized school. Which I understand has its merits (centralization), but I can't come up with very many examples of communities in rural NB that have seen their schools closed down and that have been able to find new use for the building.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is where we need imagination and innovation. And I've seen no sign of either in our governments or our school boards.

    Our school system is a product of the early industrial age. That's why it's organized like an assembly line with grade levels that everybody has to fit - complete with bells and class changes. It's like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times in which he's an assembly line worker tightening bolts as they come along a belt to him. The great changes in my life did not come from school. I was always a heavy reader, but never got past cowboy novels until grade 10. That was when for the first time in my life I met kids who read Sean O'Casey and George Bernard Shaw.

    The whole school system needs rethinking. But we're not getting it, not even from the teachers' colleges. Educationally, we're still in 1840 or so.

    And we desperately need adult education. New Bruswickers are a very passive people, not much given to debate or learning. They need education to spark them, not just to drone at them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is where we need imagination and innovation. And I've seen no sign of either in our governments or our school boards.

    Our school system is a product of the early industrial age. That's why it's organized like an assembly line with grade levels that everybody has to fit - complete with bells and class changes. It's like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times in which he's an assembly line worker tightening bolts as they come along a belt to him. The great changes in my life did not come from school. I was always a heavy reader, but never got past cowboy novels until grade 10. That was when for the first time in my life I met kids who read Sean O'Casey and George Bernard Shaw.

    The whole school system needs rethinking. But we're not getting it, not even from the teachers' colleges. Educationally, we're still in 1840 or so.

    And we desperately need adult education. New Bruswickers are a very passive people, not much given to debate or learning. They need education to spark them, not just to drone at them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is where we need imagination and innovation. And I've seen no sign of either in our governments or our school boards.

    Our school system is a product of the early industrial age. That's why it's organized like an assembly line with grade levels that everybody has to fit - complete with bells and class changes. It's like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times in which he's an assembly line worker tightening bolts as they come along a belt to him. The great changes in my life did not come from school. I was always a heavy reader, but never got past cowboy novels until grade 10. That was when for the first time in my life I met kids who read Sean O'Casey and George Bernard Shaw.

    The whole school system needs rethinking. But we're not getting it, not even from the teachers' colleges. Educationally, we're still in 1840 or so.

    And we desperately need adult education. New Bruswickers are a very passive people, not much given to debate or learning. They need education to spark them, not just to drone at them.

    ReplyDelete