Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Nov. 4:

Now, the above is a story I didn't see in the Irving press. Actually, it's many stories in one. As it begins, it's about how most of the Canadian press supported Harper in the election. It suggests, too kindly, that the Canadian press has lost touch with its readers. Less kindly, I think it shows how much the Canadian press is under the thumb of big money.

It is also about the decline of the newspaper business, how it has been losing readers for some years now. Many newspapers are losing money. And wealthy owners hang on to them only to spread propaganda useful to their business empires. That wouldn't happen in New Brunswick, of course. Just in other places.

Then, of course, there's the problem of functional illiteracy which, in New Brunswick means a newspaper operates from a starting point of only half of the adult population.

And we have to get this story from a British paper because few Canadian papers let us know this story of thing.
The only Secton A story of importance is the continuing one of the rapid extinction of wild salmon.
The editorial, as always, reminds me of an elementary school teacher who talked down to us kids from a self-righteous height on subjects of which she knew nothing. And it has the usual, trite observations such as "Rural New Brunswick continues to offer a good life for families." What a sweet (and trite) thought!

But does it really? In fact, it offers children very little sense of the range of opportunities in this world. It does little to provide intellectual stimulation for anyone. It permits almost no perception of differing values within a community, and no sense of differing cultures. And now, no schools.

Oh, and the editorial says gas exploitation could give them a second chance. Gas is good for you. And if you develop gas, that could give more varied community activities pancake breakfasts at the church.

The editorial writer has neither the information nor the logic to have the faintest idea what these communities need. Rural areas suffer from a lack of community activities, of intellectual stimulation, and contact with the experience of cities. The last thing they need is to have their major community stimulation taken away from them - to save money.

New Brunswick needs very badly to rethink the basics of how to bring education to rural areas, and how to use the schools to educate and socialize adults as well as children. If this province can afford to give tens of millions to a company like Atcon, and millions more in other favours to corporations and spend a hundred million on an events centre and have stunningly low tax rates for the very rich and give away our forest at bargain prices, (and, perhaps, not bother to collect taxes from the very wealthy), it can surely do more to stimulate and revitalize its rural population.

So far, I've seen no imagination on this and no intelligent thought about it. Somehow, that doesn't surprise me in a government which spends less per capita than any other province  on libraries.

Norbert! All is forgiven. Norbert has a magnificent column today. A must read.

Brian Cormier is Brian Cormier. The guest column is a political speech.

Alec Bruce's is a superb column. this province which don't read real good and which thinks a performer who sings in a nasal voice while coloured lights flash is a cultural event...ain't many who are going to understand what a stoic is or who Seneca and Epictetus were. Gotta write for your audience, kid. Check the editorial for a  model.
Canada&World is its usual nose in its own bellybutton self. Of six pages, less than one is world news. At that, the only one worth reading is that Pope Francis is cracking down on corruption in the Vatican.

For a real story, note the one below on poverty in the U.S. Note that the sources are largely official - as UNICEF, U.S. Census, etc.

Then there's this one about our good friends in the sugar industry.
Gee! Why did that make me think of our oil industry?

The the TransCanada pipeline is dead? Check this CBC story.

Then there are places in Canada where living conditions are appalling. One of them is in the world news - but hasn't made the Irving press. It's particularly important because we  have yet to see any action about the report on reconciliation with our native peoples - except, of course, when we send in the boys in camouflage outfits with their combat rifles. And I don't think we're going to see any action until we get a government that's willing to stand up against those mining and oil interests that like the present reserve system the way it is.

The Brief, a New Brunswick news sheet that is not owned by Irving Ltd., has a November issue that is superb. There's a big article on how J.D.Irving is the cause of our falling deer population through its use of poisonous sprays. J.D. is also cutting wood at an unsustainable rate - and all this on a giveaway deal that cost us millions. There's also a quite surprising story on the employment benefits of renewable energy.

Niether of these stories is likely to appear in the Irving press, so contact

All of this is easily available to editors at the Irving press. So why do we get only the thin gruel that the Irving press dishes out to us? Are the editors lazy? Are they incompetent?  I suspect it's something worse than that.

I left off the last blog with a mention of the brutality of the western empires since 1492. I presume there has always been brutality as the root of imperialism. But that since 1492 has been strongly marked by racism.

Columbus, no doubt an observant Christian (like all the leaders of western empires), could yet not only use mass-killing but add the indiscrminate terror of using vicious dogs that tore apart not just warriors, but women, children, babies.

How could he do that and remain a Christian? No problem

He saw those 'other' people as racially inferior. They were sub-humans, inferior to western Europeans morally, intellectually, physically. In fact, they weren't really people. Every modern empire I know of  has worked on that basis. Hitler was not expressing new ideas in Mein Kampf. And Mein Kampf was mostly an expression of attitudes that Germans already had - and British and French and Americans and Canadians.

Racism became the magic solvent at least as early as Columbus. It cleared anyone of the responsibility for mass murder, looting.... George Washington, John A. Macdonald, Sir Winston Churchill were all racists. That's the origin of the anthem to the Queen "Make her victorious, happy and glorious...."  Killing was good. Killing was glorious.

To this day, Christian missionaries often carry a baggage of racism. Many of them have a  dislike of those to be converted, and a have a conviction that they are inferior. I have known more than a few of the type. They have an attitude that they represent a superior society.

I noticed the same in British government officials and business people in Hong Kong (before China took it back.) When I taught journalism there to working journalists, my students were both Chinese and British. One of the less intelligent Brits in the class worked for the major newspaper, The South China Morning Post. Most of my Chinese students showed more ability than him. But he was the highest paid journalist in the class. All the administators at the Morning Post were Brits. And we all knew that the slow Brit in the class would soon be an editor. And the Chinese knew they would never be editors.

I was related by marriage to one of the most powerful men in the colony. He was just below the governor in rank. He was born working class British. But in Hong Kong he had all the arrogance and the contempt for the people that one might have expected from a Duke of the realm. The people were beneath him except, of course, for the wealthy whites he associated with at The Fleet Club.

It rather reminds me of the attitude the very rich have to the rest of us.

Hitler didn't invent anything. Racism and brutality were characteristic of westerners centuries before Hitler was born. Hitler, if anything, put racism a little out of style. So we now murder and starve and make refugees of people who are 'evil'. And you can tell they're evil from their skin colour or religion.  It's really the same old game of racism.

Tomorrow, I'll take a look at empires and the rise of 'capitalism'.


  1. I feel intellectually superior to my rural neighbours because they mostly vote conservative. I look down my nose at them, and mock their silly opinions. I am making a slew of enemies by installing a 10 kilowatt solar panel array on my barn. It's a weird world.

  2. Well, you want to fit in. So what you should do is scratch the paint on your house. And you really should attend whatever church in your area is the biggest. Oh, and in big letters, paint "I am a Conservative" on your barn.

  3. Well, you want to fit in. So what you should do is scratch the paint on your house. And you really should attend whatever church in your area is the biggest. Oh, and in big letters, paint "I am a Conservative" on your barn.

  4. Well, you want to fit in. So what you should do is scratch the paint on your house. And you really should attend whatever church in your area is the biggest. Oh, and in big letters, paint "I am a Conservative" on your barn.