Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Jan. 20: the headlines is actually real news....

Unfortunately, it is very bad news. A potash mine in New Brunswick will close with a heavy loss of jobs that will effectively destroy much of the community. It's too early to pronounce on what action should be taken.

There is nothing else in section A that could reasonably be called news.

The editorial is, to put it kindly, confusing. Wild salmon are in danger. New Brunswick, therefore, severely limits the salmon fishery – to a degree that has cut heavily into our tourist trade for sport fishermen.

Meanwhile, other countries continue the fishery for market, driving the salmon toward extinction. Says the editorial, why should New Brunswickers be denied their traditions and jobs while other countries continue their commercial fisheries?

Duh, I dunno. Because it might save the wild salmon?

Then, in a burst of intelligence, the writer says we should ban salmon fishing in New Brunswick and that would convince Europe to stop consuming salmon.

Well, I certainly think we should ban it. But I doubt that would make Europeans feel guilty enough to change their eating habits. However, combined with federal pressures on European governments, it might have some effect.

Norbert has been reading about the Detroit Auto Show and what cars will be like in 50 years or so. This is a good read for anybody who really, really cares what cars will look like in fifty years. Personally, I would think this is not one of the great issues facing New Brunswick in 2016.

There's a big, big column by a former MLA for New Brunswick. It's about the economy, and it has very little to say. Even the very little is old stuff that we've heard many times. But above it, for no clear reason, is a very, very big photo of Mr. Gallant looking as Moses must have when he stood on the mount to see the Israel he could never enter.

Brian Cormier writes a column about keeping your home tidy.

Alec Bruce blows kisses to Frank McKenna for reasons that are not clear to me. The final quarter of it is about a foolish comment McKenna made about refugees being forced to remain in the town they are sent to for at least a year. And then he ends with a pointless sentence.

This isn't a commentary of any sort. It has no opinion. Just kisses. For the first time, this is the worst column on two pages of bad columns.
The five pages of Canada and World rarely get outside Canada – or even New Brunswick.

On B2, Mulcair says the NDP has to articulate is social democratic vision. Wrong.

It has to develop a social democratic vision. It hasn't had a social democratic vision since the world was young and the CCF became the NDP.

On B4, the federal government is still pretending it doesn't matter that it wasn't invited to an anti-ISIS coalition meeting – and it's not a snub. The Conservatives are equally inane. They say it is a snub, and it's happening because Canada has become a small-timer in international affairs.

In fact, Canada has almost always been a small-timer in international affairs. First, it was because we were just a colony. We had a burst of world respect under Lester Pearson when he developed the peace-keeping role. But that withered a long time ago. Since then, we've been a lapdog for the U.S. Everybody knows that. Except us.

The Conservatives say this shows we're not big players. Okay. Take a look at who was invited to the meeting. Netherlands. Italy. Australia. The Netherlands, Italy and Australia are big players? The UK and France ceased to be big players after World War Two. And I haven't seen Germany as a big player on the world map since 1945.

The anti-ISIS coalition is a creation of the American government to serve the interests of American billionaires. And it's largely a fraud because the U.S. and some of its friends have been bankrolling ISIS from the start – as well as causing the destabilization that has made ISIS possible.

That whole pot has become so rotten, we should be able to smell it. And the idea that we should send Canadians to kill and die for the sake of profits for a handful of billionaires (while telling them they are fighting for Queen and country and democracy,etc.) is disgusting.

Just below this is the story that Harper may have made it impossible for Canada to lift sanctions on Iran, even though the US and others have. Just can't kiss up enough, eh, Harper?

The cause of all this was the American decision that Iran was a terrorist state. Imagine. The U.S. had to gall to say that. The U.S. is the country that overthrew the elected government of Iran, and installed a dictator who ruled by terror. The U.S. is the country that has murdered uncounted millions all over the world, mostly civilians. The U.S. is the major country that has created chaos and deliberate starvation in the middle east – as in Yemen. The U.S. is the country that has tortured thousands. The U.S. and its buddies are the ones behind ISIS. And we're expected to wimp up behind the U.S. because it says Iran is a terrorist country.

The story in today's paper also says that Iran is destabilizing the region. Think of the murder and plundering that western countries have inflicted on that region for over a century. And explain to me how it's all the fault of Iran.

B6. “Iraqi Kurdish forces deliberately destroy Arab villages”. Now, tell me how often you've seen headlines that said, “U.S. forces DELIBERATELY destroy Iraq (Yemen, Afghanistan, Guatemalan, Vietnamese, etc.) villages.”

In the same story we are told the Iraqi Kurds are committing a war crime. Now, tell me how often you're read a news report saying that millions murdered by the U.S. have been war crimes, the invasion of Iraq was a war crime, the sale of cluster bombs to be dropped on Yemen have been war crimes, the years of torture of thousands of prisoners have been war crimes.

The use of that word 'deliberately' is a variety of propaganda. So is the use of 'war crimes'. These words, almost invariably, are applied only to the other side.

So it's another copy of the Irving press that tells us almost nothing – and propagandizes even that.

Israel is daily using aircraft to spray pesticides all over Gaza. The dosage is heavy, and it covers everything – fields, houses, schools… The purpose? To make Gaza unlivable. Gee. Are we ever lucky that Mr. Irving would never do that to us! And, even if he tried to, the Irving press would certainly tell him off.

To that has been added severe restrictions on the supply for gas for heating in the Gaza strip. Some estimates are that it may be unlivable as soon as 2020.

Some weeks ago, I had a post (see comments) from an angry mining engineer who wrote he had never heard of mines that paid starvation wages or coerced employees or used children. So here's an item that might interest him. It's a story about 16 international mining corporations that use children as young as seven. And that's just for cobalt mining.

The work is very dangerous, often killing dozens in a day. And it pays close to nothing.

The U.S. prisons hold a staggering 2.2 million prisoners, one-quarter of all prisoners in the world. What's more staggering is that 2 million of them are serving time – without having had a trial. Here's the story by a pretty reputable journalist.

We are very close to what has been called the fourth industrial revolution – the use of robots to replace employees. This should be good news because it should enable all of us to work shorter hours. But it may not work that way under our form of capitalism. Greed and short-sightedness (very prominent among our big money leaders) would mean maintaining the present work week, and simply firing extra people.

Business has no sense of responsibility for people, only for profits. That's why we need government as the agency to look out for people. Unfortunately, big business has been very successful at buying governments (and using news media as propaganda). As a result, the effect of robotization is more likely to be a drop in human employment and, given the surplus of people, a drop in the salaries of those who do get jobs.

I have found many sources echoing the cry that mass migration means the end of Europe. I find it hard to take any of them seriously.

In the first place, the whole world is made of up immigrants. (With the possible exception of African countries.) Celts have spread over a wide area – Ireland, Scotland, France, Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand. We are all of us an astonishing mix. That's something you learn when doing a family tree. So there's nothing new about countries accepting immigrants, and still surviving as countries.

But do immigrants change countries? Of course they do. In fact, even without immigrants, countries are in constant change as a result of world trends, economies, climate change, social values, rise or decline of religions…… Canada has changed a great deal since, say, 1800. And I have met few who would prefer to live in 1800 again.

And I would think some change would be very healthy for a Europe that has such a long history of civil war, foreign war, imperial war, religious fanaticism….

In the early 1900s and up almost to 1950, there was considerable agitation from prominent Canadian social, political, religious leaders to keep out Jews. Can anyone cite examples of how Canadian Jews have destroyed Canada? For the same reasons, there were many who wanted to reject immigrants from Ukraine, Italy, China, Japan. Does anyone feel Canada has suffered a great loss by their coming?

Europe is the same. In fact, its societies are getting almost mouldy. I've seen enough of British social class idiocies to convince me of that. Without immigration from the Roman empire, Scandinavia, France (and the addition of Scotland), the English would still be going about naked, and painting themselves blue for battle.

Would religions different from Christianity have any impact on our Christian society? I should certainly hope so. The biggest threat to Christianity is and always has been Christians. And after 2,000 years of Christianity, I see no sign of peculiarly Christian values in our governments (that we elect) or in our economic system – and none whatever on the Saturday Faith page of the Irving press.
And what is Christian in our worship of the very rich? What is Christian in our eagerness to fight wars to make billionaires richer?

Name a statement by Donald Trump that reflects Christian values. (Or Stephen Harper or almost any politician,)

My experience, growing up in a city of immigrants, was that they enormously broaden our thinking and enrich us. So the more different they are, the better.

The people who really suffer from immigration are the ones whose (visiting) immigrants have been western capitalists and their gunslingers. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a prime example.

I have met many of these gunslingers posted to China, Africa. They were in controlled types of government, in mining, in factory farming….They were American, Canadian, British, French – and they are as unpleasantly arrogant and bullying and uncaring as humans can be.

On news in general.

From what I've seen so far, al Jazeera has the widest range of coverage of the good papers. Haaretz is good, but much smaller, and pretty much restricted to middle east news – and mostly news of Israel. The Guardian comes second in range of coverage – and is maybe a little ahead of al Jazeera in quality – but they're close.

Information Clearing House can be a mixed bag. Its good reporters and commentators are very, very good, indeed. But you have to watch out for those writing from a bias.

The Independent ( UK) can be excellent on foreign news – which seems strange in a paper that is otherwise blah.

The CBC is honest, and is usually good. But it's under tremendous pressure from governments that don't want it to be either honest or good. CBC is also the only radio news service I know of that is a real news service. (BBC's reputation has suffered in recent years.)

Private TV doesn't need pressure. It's just naturally neither honest nor good, with Fox at the bottom of the barrel.

News from private radio is usually a bad joke. Any private radio I have dealt with has no capacity for anything but local news – and not much staff (often none) for that. Nor does it usually have anything that could be called an editor.

I don't know of a good newspaper in North America. In Canada, the Globe and Mail is probably the best of a bad lot. The National Post is a real stinker, and packed with arrogance and bias. In this, it reflects the personality of its founder.


  1. The National Post is indeed a real stinker, made even worse by Lord Godfrey Of Reform, who possesses neither the native wit nor intellect of Black. He is remorselessly on the elite's side as a fixer who shows no mercy, not even to the petty serfs who faithfully churn(ed) out the conservative bullshit propaganda he publishes to further the cause of the billionaires.

    Funnily enough, the first awareness I ever had about the utter moral corruption of the US "justice" system and its 96% conviction rate due to plea bargaining, was an article by Black complaining about how they convicted him. When he appealed and had two charges dropped, the judge merely increased the sentence on the lesser charge he remained convicted on, so far as one can tell, to punish him for the mere temerity of having appealed in the first place. Since there was no further recourse to the judge's pettiness, he was sunk.

    At the time of conviction, I blindly believed he got what he deserved. Later I discovered he was probably correct insofar as his criticism of the US justice system was concerned, and the referenced article from infoclearinghouse is just one more instance of confirmation.

    Great stuff Mr Decarie. Keep at it.

  2. Though they tend to drift to the left side of the fence, I go to the Tyee.