Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sept. 24:The Irving press and the worship of ignorance

For a change, we'll open with----

Forgive me. This is an astonishing site; and it beats anything in the Irving press.

Section A news is deadly. It begins with a nothing statement by premier Gallant – and then goes downhill. Call me a dreamer, but I was hoping city leadership in this burg might show signs of dealing with real issues – civic plans for anticipated emergencies due to climate change, a rational public transit system to replace our present caravans of empty buses – preferably one that does not operate on fossil fuels – some rational plan for the future of housing that rids us of being a city of fire traps, one that is designed for an urban population and not as an endless sprawl of 1950s villages – that sort of thing. But no such luck.

The only story worth reading is on A9. The faculty associations at Saint Thomas University are taking the university to court because it refuses to disclose the salaries, pensions, and other perks for past presidents. Good for the faculty associations.

Presidents are selected by boards of governors that are dominated by business people, and, usually, high level business people. They know close to nothing about education, and operate universities as if they were businesses. And what businesses do is to give absurdly high salaries, high pensions and lots of other goodies to presidents. What's happening should be a major scandal.

Mind you, it might not be a bad idea for faculty associations to investigate professors, many of whom know nothing about teaching, and avoid it as much as possible – preferring to use the university to build their personal glory as intellectuals.

We're paying a lot for universities. And we aren't getting our money's worth.

The editorial fearlessly attacks one of the great issues of our time – the number of sick days permitted for teachers and civil servants.

It says we could save millions if we cut back on their allowance of sick days. Brilliant insight! Now, take it just a step further. Think of how much we could save if we took back the tax breaks (for a tax rate that is already low) and took action on the hidden profits in tax havens.

Discuss this with the editorial staff. I'm sure they would take up the case.

Norbert starts with the useful reminder that we have to weigh individual and collective rights carefully. And he makes good points about this with the issues of vaccination and gun ownership. Then he says we're emerging from the excesses of liberalism in the 1960s.

What liberalism are you talking about, Norbert? And what “small-c” conservatism are you talking about? Liberalism would mean putting an emphasis on individual rights. That is what we are doing now - for the rights of billionaires. In the 1960s, we were doing the opposite (at least a little bit).

And what was excessive in the 1960s, Norbert? Regulations for business? Medicare? Today, says Norbert, we live in an age of selfish entitlement and narcissism so that one can do whatever one wants no matter how harmful, immoral or illegal it might be.

For a start Norbert, every age in history has been one of selfish entitlement and narcism. For centuries such entitlement was the mark of the aristocracy. It's now the mark of the very rich. They expect to be given whole forests, to get low taxes (and to hide from paying even those). They expect us to fight wars for them, to pay the taxes they don't pay, to die if it's good for business.

So who does Norbert pick on as the entitled and narcisstic? He gives hell to doctors who want to defend the health system. Ooooh! Evil. Selfish. Then there's teachers, civil servants, seniors – vicious, all of them. And a woman who thinks public schools should supply basic materials. Vile! All of them lazy, and living off the hard work of honest people.

Norbert, you know damn well who the selfish, entitled and narcisstic people are in this province. But you wouldn't dare say a word about them.

Norbert developed all these brilliant thoughts from reading a book by a psychologist, Stephen Pinker. I know his work only from a book he wrote on the decline of war. I thought it was a crock. Nor do I see why a psychologist should be taken seriously on these topics. There's a note of sensationalism in his writing which leads me to suspect he's one of those academics who write only for personal status and academic glory. ( There are quite a few of them.)

Then there's Rod Allen's column. Mr. Allen likes lobster. See? You can learn that sort of thing only by reading the Irving press.

The guest column is about the lumber industry in British Columbia. I have no idea why.

Alec Bruce contributes a column that doesn't have any clear point except, possibly, as an act of small town boosterism.

The big news on B1 for Canada &World is the leader's debate ( in French). The big issue, it seems, will be about banning Muslim women from wearing the nigab when taking the oath of citizenship. It's normal that national elections are fought on trivial and even brainless issues. That's why so many Americans are cheering for Trump. He is the ultimate brainless candidate - and he knows all about exploiting hatred, fear and bigotry to get votes.

The future of Canada does not depend on whether women will be allowed to wear a veil when taking an oath. But Harper knows that most voters have no idea (thanks to our news media) of what the real issues are. He also knows that anti-Muslim bigotry is especially strong in Quebec.

Mulcair is leading in Quebec. But he has supported the right of Muslim women to wear the nigab at the swearing-in ceremony. So Harper will play to hatred, fear and bigotry to pick up votes in Quebec.

There are two, big stories about the pope's visit to Washington. Neither says anything.

Canada&World is almost entirely Canada and U.S. There's really nothing in it.


The story below also appeared in The Independent. It's about the shamefulness of Harper (and most of us) in doing so little for refugees. We, the U.S. and Britain are the ones who created their misery. And now we'll do the least possible. I don't think Canadians realize how much the rest of the world has developed a contempt for our nation. There was a time when we were taken seriously. Harper has destroyed that.

Then there's another piece of news that wasn't important enough for the Irving press. One candidate, Scott Walker has dropped out of the Republican leadership race. However, one of the corporations that funded him now insists he return that part of their funding he has not spent yet. This money came from the Koch brothers whose vast wealth comes from oil. They also are the ones who sponsored the claim that climate change isn't happenimg. (They still do it.) And how much do they say Walker owes them?

900 million dollars. That's 900 million for just one of the candidates. They will also have paid most of the candidates – and, probably, Hillary Clinton. And that's just for the leadership race – not for the presidency. And it doesn't count the congressmen and senators they've bought. The total will be in the billions.

Why are the Koch brothers so public-spirited? 1. so nothing will be done to fight climate change. 2. So American tax payers will fund their wars to control oil. 3. So they won't have to pay taxes.

Is their anybody in New Brunswick like that? Think hard.

That's why we have thrown away over twenty years that we needed to deal with climate change. That's why we have murdered millions all over the world, and about half of those millions were children.

People like the Koch brothers make Hitler seem like a humanitarian. We can't hide from this. They have made the whole world a slaughterhouse by war, by starvation, by exploitation and, increasingly, they will be destroying us – for profit. This is insanity. But it's real. Don't worry about Muslim terrorists. Worry about the ones most likely to destroy us. They are the real terrorists.

The sight below is a video of Noam Chomsky. He's quite right. There is no real difference between all the Republican candidates. And, I would add, no significant difference between them and the Democrats. (and no difference between them and Harper). It's not too much to say they are all insane. And, for that matter, the billionaires who own them are insane.)

And American democracy is over. Former president Jimmy Carter has recognized this. And he's far from being the only one. We have done nothing significant about climate change. We have killed millions as ruthlessly as any butcher in history has done. We live in fear of others when we are the ones who are terrorizing the world. And all for the greed of a very few.

Americans are living in insanity. And Harper is a face of that insanity. And we don't get that in our news media because the insane own almost all our news media.

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