Friday, January 15, 2016

Jan 15: This could be the worst Irving press issue ever

The front page headline is “Murder suspect makes first court appearance”. And what does that tell us? Nothing. Nothing is what usually happens on the first appearance. This deserves, at most, two or three sentences on a back page. So why is it the lead story for the Irving press? Because this is what is called sensationalism. This is like the old-time carnival shows that advertised seeing the fat lady or the thin man or the infant body preserved in a bottle of alcohol as an “educational experience”.

The is for people who don't want news. They want a thrill – the same people who buy the scandal mags with their stories about how Elvis is still alive.

The second biggest story is really a free ad for a coffee shop that is reopening after a fire.

The only story of importance is that Gallant's austerity budget will not touch education or health (this time). A4 has two 'news' stories that are really free ads for stores. And, of course, there's the daily story about a fire somewhere.

This region seems to have a lot of fires. Could it have anything to do with the wide use of wood in building? Could it have something to do with inadequate (or unenforced) building codes? Wouldn't it be a good idea to have a reporter ask some questions about that? Has city council ever discussed it?

For a city that isn't very big, Moncton really sprawls. Public transit can't deal with that. It would be cheaper to used much smaller buses instead of those long lines of empty ones. And, perhaps, using enough of them to let children go to school (free) by public transit. There's something wrong with very expensive buses that are almost always empty. Has the Irving press ever thought of looking at that?

The editorial is just an exercise in kissing the asses of Mr. McKenna and Dominique Leblanc. It also has a line that is more than a little obnoxious – that bilingualism is good because there's a business case for it. As always, this paper can think of nothing but money and the 'business case'. Some things are good because they are good for people. Bilingualism is one of them. Not everything in this world is about money.

Ditto for Norbert who discusses refugees as a business opportunity. In fairness, that may be because he sees the people of New Brunswick as being able to understand nothing without a dollar sign on it. And the implication is that we should change 'Love thy neighbour' to 'Love thy neighbour because it's good for business”. (“Believe in Me, and ye shall win the next Lotto Max.)

We should accept these people because they are people, and they need our help. That should be enough. We should help them because the alternative is they will live in misery and early death. Not enough?

We should help them because we have created the hell they live in. We have been overthrowing their governments, killing their people, and looting their oil for over a century. We have destroyed their societies. That why some of the rubble rises in the form of ISIS.

And there are some good, selfish reasons, too. My own experience of immigration was the post-war immigration to Montreal. It enormously enriched the cultural scene in Montreal. (Moncton could use that). It brought me some of my best friends, and broadened my understanding of what family and friends and values could mean.

I gather from the story on the death of Rene Angelil that the Irving press approved of him. I knew many people like him. He grew up just a few streets from me. He was a second-generation Syrian then. Much like the Syrians we are receiving now.

I do wish the Irving press would learn that this world is about people. Yes. Money is important. But people come first.

Cole Hobson has rather a vapid column about the unconquerable restaurants of Moncton.

Brian Murphy's column – this is my second attempt to write about it – and still can't get beyond his – what? Ignorance? His contempt for the intelligence of the people of this province? His ego that forces him to how well he knows famous people, and they're his friends. He discusses liberalism and conservatism – but obviously has no idea what those words mean. He says he found Harper engaging and sincere. Harper told him a joke that I remember almost from my cradle: If you're not a socialist when you're twenty, you have no heart. If you aren't a capitalist when you're thirty, you have no brain. I suspect that Mr. Murphy missed both stages. In any case, a capitalist (or a Conservative or Liberal or a Liberal Conservative or a Conservative Liberal or a Ted Kennedy Liberal) who has no heart and is proud of it is not much help to the world.

He tells us he was a committed Ted Kennedy Liberal. I have no idea what that means; and I doubt whether Mr. Murphy knows. I doubt whether he knows what socialism means. (It means, among other things, old age pensions, medicare, public schooling, social equality, feeding the hungry.)

He admires Mulroney, and calls him a closet Liberal. That could be true, but only if you use the word 'liberal' in an eighteenth century usage – that capitalists should have absolute freedom to do what they want. He knows Mulroney well, Murphy, says as a man of heart, thought and emotion. This is just drivel. (And, gee, if he had a heart he must have been a socialist.)

Brian Mulroney made a career out of kissing the asses of the rich. The only heart he had was for money. He accepted large bribes as prime minister. He married into that spoiled rich crowd he wanted to be a part of. His wife lived largely for shopping. Montreal's most expensive clothing shop was closed on Sundays – but open just to her.

Even the wealthiest of the Conservatives in Montreal disliked Mulroney. A well remember being an observer at a party when Brian and Mila entered. Most people pretended they didn't see him. This was shortly after the Conservative convention held to pick a new leader.

Whenever the MC at that convention mentioned the name of a noted Conservative, like Stanfield, the audience stood and applauded. But Mulroney's name always got a dead silence.

“Dominic Leblanc is the best politician in Canada”. What does 'best politician” mean? Hitler was clearly the “best politician” in 1930s Germany.

Murphy puts Frank McKenna high on this personal list of saints. Frankly, I have never had cause to admire him. And I find many of his political ideas self-serving. And he certainly keeps unpleasant company at international conferences. But the Irving press has been blowing kisses at McKenna for the last couple of days. That suggests to me that something is cooking.

This is quite the worst column of vague (and possibly ignorant) blather I have ever seen. I really cannot find a word of intelligence or of clear meaning in this whole column. I really can't tell whether he thinks we're all stupid or whether he just wants to tell us he knows famous people Hey, Mr. Murphy, look at me; look at me. I knew Pierre Trudeau and Romeo Leblanc and Field Marshall Earl Alexander and ever so many famous people. Clap hands for me.

I know lots of editors. (Clap, everybody). I have never met one who would stoop so low as to allow this column to go to print.

And Moncton elected this guy as an MP?

Alec Bruce had a great day – yesterday. Today, he's closer to Brian Murphy. He's preaching the gospel of austerity, and saying it's our fault for being profligate. Really? Are we the ones that gave away a forest to a billionaire? Are we the ones who, over the years, have squandered money on outfits like Atcon? Exactly what is the wage gap in this province? Who is getting most of the money this province produces every year?

How much money do our very wealthy pay in taxes? I mean real money, not just a percentage. The people of New Brunswick sure as hell do not look profligate to me. I don't see much super-expensive housing or cars. I don't see squandering on fashionable clothes.

I do see politicians ready to spend anything at the wish of the very rich – like a hundred million on a skating rink. But precious little for the homeless and the hungry.

And for austerity as the road to prosperity,I have never heard of a society that got rich by submitting most of its people to poverty.

So that's it. Not a damn thing worth reading in all of section A.

Section B has very little about its topics, Canada and the World. And even the little is either trivial or useless without informed commentary. So let's look elsewhere.

The U.S. produces huge wealth, and spends by far the world's biggest budget. That makes it odd that unemployment has been rising, average incomes moving slightly if at all, the worst homeless problem of any developed nation, and it has had to cut its help to the growing number of starving in the U.S.
The reason? It needs ever more money for the biggest defence budget, by far, in the whole world. And all that money is voted by politicians like Hilary Clinton (and almost all the rest) who get elected on money from the arms industry.

I am always intrigued by the self-righteous parades of some religious groups protesting hospital abortions. I say self-righteous because that's all it is. I've never seen them protesting the murders we and our allies commit all over the world every day. I missed the their protest over mass murder in Guatemala Iraq. If they protested against a minimum wage that keeps people at a level of malnourishment, I must have missed it. I've never known them to protest any war. But they're big on protesting abortion. And, looking at them, I can see why. Unlike the sins of war, of imposed poverty and suchlike, abortion is safe to protest. Nobody likes it. And none of those who demonstrate seem likely ever to need one.

But the reality is that abortion will happen whether legal or not. It's been happening for tens of thousands of years. Into the twentieth century, abortion-inducing products were commonly sold in drug stores as 'For feminine weakness'. It's always been happening. There's also a long history of new-born babies being drowned or tossed in dumpsters. The only difference with medical abortions is that the women more often survive. Forbidding medical abortion doesn't save lives. In fact, it creates a higher death rate.

Try this article…
Then there's this one that tells its own story.

When the Irving press talks about austerity budgeting, it never mentions the role of the wealthy. In fact, a major reason so many people in this province are short of money is because the wealthy get such a large and growing part of it.

The government of New Brunswick is working on the wage gap – sort of. But it refers only to the gap between men and women – which is certainly one that should be remedied. But there's a much bigger one it prefers not to look at.

Then there's this story about the native peoples of Canada we seldom hear of.

For those, like the Irving press who talk about the refugee problem as being a chance for 'a good business deal', take a look at the people we must help, even if it's not a good business deal. As the article below says, murdering civilians, including children, by starvation has always happened in war. But there's been a change. Throughout the twentieth century and increasingly today, civilians, including children, are the main targets. And it's done by even the nicest people, even by those people who hold up anti-abortion posters.

One of the great decisions by both the Axis and the Allies in 1942 was to make civilians the major target of bombing. They still are – for all sides. Now, starvation is also being widely used in the middle east. Our side is using it in Yemen. (Perhaps that's why the Irving press never reports on Yemen). All sides are using it in Syria.

And we're helping to starve those children – just to show we're good friends to the U.S.

Then there's a story I haven't seen yet – but we can see it for ourselves if we look. Oil companies are looking at drilling for oil in the Arctic. (Expect some real problems over that because neither the US nor Russia accepts Canadian claims to that region.) Saudi Arabia may have reached peak oil. So the U.S., Russia and China are scrambling for new sources. The West is spending trillions of dollars on endless wars for oil in the middle east. Russia is in Syria for no reason but to get access to oil.

What does this suggest the chances are of the Paris promises on climate change being carried out?

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