Friday, February 19, 2016

Feb. 19: The Irving press has a real story today!

Treasure this moment. It may never come again.

 Justin Robichaud is an old and close friend of premier Gallant. The also have close political ties. Robichaud is also VP of communications for the  Liberal Party Executive in New Brunswick. Isn't that nice?

And he's now a registered lobbyist to lobby in Ottawa for the  Energy East pipeline. No conflict of interest for anybody there.

I know little about the legal aspects of lobbying. But, apparently, it's possible to register a person so he has a right to go to Ottawa and to meet with our government members to----what? Give them advice? MPs and senators already have all the expert advice they need. No, these people are sent to make deals, perhaps to offer money, to put on political pressure. Lobbyists are what killed American democracy.

Funny, I wouldn't think that lawyers would be experts on environmental issues. But that's not really what a lobbyist is about.

A4 has a story Norbert should read. It's about two, Moncton teachers receiving national awards for their teaching. Obviously, the rest of Canada doesn't know how incompetent our teachers are, and what a mess the school system is.
And that's it for section A news.
Well, with that lead story about lobbying, and with two teachers getting national awards, we have good material, I thought, for an editorial or for comments. No such luck.

The editorial is the old one about whether children speaking French should ride on the same bus as children speaking English. From grade 9 to grade 11, I rode to school on public transport. Most of the passengers, adults and children, and the bus driver were French. I survived without visible scars.

Norbert has a reasonable column, written in reasonable terms. In fact, it's rather a good one on climate change.

There's also a letter from a Unitarian clergyman thanking Norbert for defending us against theocracy a few days ago. I'm suprised that a clergyman (and Norbert) doesn't seem to know what 'theocracy' means.

It means government by a god or by the god's priests. Much as I disagree with the views with the clergy who are challenging the legal right to assisted suicide, they are not claiming to be government. They are simply fighting a case in court, not giving anybody any orders.

Cole Hobson doesn't have a commentary. He has a pointless story about what fun it is to play football.  Save it for the sports bar, Mr. Hobson. Use it when everybody starts to get fuzzy

Brian Murphy has a vaguely inspirational, if stunningly trivial, column about running for political office. And what does he see as the great issues facing us? Well, the first is getting rid of the 'boot' on parked cars. And it goes downhill from there.
The Canada and World section is its usual brief and dreary self, but with a few items worth reading.

The New Brunswick government is further privatizing health care. Its seems a deliberate policy of both Liberals and Conservatives to make the system more expensive and less effective. We are edging toward the U.S. system, the most expensive and inefficient system in the developed world.

Page B3 tells us that the poor in New Brunswick suffer the worst health. They noticed! One of the first things I learned as a kid growing up in a poor neighbourhood, pre-medicare, is that the poor suffer the worst health. I had many opportunities to watch them die. And, evidently the wealthy of this province think that's a good idea because the real purpose of health care is not to help the sick. It's to make profits.

Pope France makes the paper twice. He condemns Trump for his idea of a Mexico wall, and says it's not compatible with Christianity. (Or any other religion.) He also - and this is a major change - says that contraception can be condoned in the Zika crisis. And that is a huge challenge, even an insult, to a high proportion of his own clergy. Pope Francis is many things. But timid is not one of them.

Generally, the Canada and World section is a waste of time. Its foreign news is heavy on propaganda, so you can't get reliable news at all. It has huge gaps in coverage. Typically, there is nothing on Asia or Africa or Latin America, and not much on Europe. We get no sense of the scope of the refugee crisis, and no mention at all of the massive tragedy that Yemen. This latter omission has to be deliberate.

People need information that makes them think. Propaganda does not make people think. Having one or two (intelligent) foreign news commentaries would be far better than this mindless drivel we're getting.

So how come the Irving press dropped the only foreign news commentator they had? I suspect it had something to with the reason it also dropped David Suzuki. The boss doesn't approve of thinking.

As well, it's because the Irving press isn't really a news operation. It's a business that sells ads. And some propaganda.
Here's an interesting suggestion that the methods of Donald Trump are a continuation of those started by George Bush jr.  Something to think about.
Killings by American police are a little slack so far this year with only 136 killed so far. This is the country that believes that arming everyone is a way to save lives.
And there's this interesting analysis of a spat between Donald Trump and Pope Francis. The reference to Trump as a nativist or 'know-nothing' refers to a US political movement of the mid-nineteenth century that was anti all religions and all 'races' except for those that were Protestant and White.
Justice Scalia of the U.S. supreme court  has been receiving  high praise on the occasion of his recent death. In fact, he had few of the good qualities we are hearing about. His mind was locked in the 18th century, with the result that the American constitution, in his view, should be locked there, too. He had no recognition that the world had changed since the days of the American revolution. And he had no respect for changing the U.S. in any way. That's why he was so loved by the rich and influential. The old ways suited them just fine.

And that's why the Republican party idolized him. He deplored the immigration of people who were not British. He really was a return to the profoundly bigoted and racist U.S. of the mid-nineteenth century, a return to contempt for the poor and worship for the rich. And, intellectually, a direct ancestor of Donald Trump.

Very clever, as Hitler was very clever.

(In connection with the above, American children are taught that the U.S. welcomed the "poor and the wretched" of Europe. There was even a popular poem about it. In fact, the U.S. (rather like Canada) has accepted immigrants only because they were cheap labour for the rich. Their presence not only meant that cheap labour was available; it also drove down existing wages - which were already low. Justice Scalia's father was from Sicily. American bigotry against Italians was strong. They were hated, but accepted because they were cheap. So it is not a coincidence that Scalia was the first Italian ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He realized early that to become recognized as an American, he had to be more American than Americans were. )
On his last days in Mexico, Pope Francis made at least six, major statements. That's quite a pace. And, unlike the Chamber of Commerce which has dinners only for the rich and their flunkies, the pope met with the poor, with convicts - and he actually said something. One of his statements particularly struck me. "Profit and capital are not a good over and above the human person"

I agree. The Irving press does not. I have never seen an editorial,  and rarely seen a  commentary in that paper that reflected any such values. Almost every decision made by almost every government in the history of this province has been made because of a belief that profit and capital ARE a good over and above the human person. That is also generally true of decisions made by the federal and provincial Liberals and Conservatives.

And to that, some will respond that you need money to help the human person. In fact, few of our political decisions have been made to help the human person. In any case, one cannot start with the question of money. The starting point is what does the human person need. Then you decide how to get the money.

We usually do it in reverse so that, if we discuss human need at all, it's only to justify the money - most of which, in the end, will go to profit and capital.With the exception of a couple of commentary writers, I have rarely seen an editorial or a commentary in the Irving press which begins with human need.
And that may explain why there is a great deal of need in the province, and why the bulk of the money seems to flow to the very  rich.
Most of the information in the following item has been known for decades. And the article just scratches the surface. The CIA and American intelligence have been creating wars for decades, almost all for the benefit American capitalists. Just offhand, I can think of many more examples - like Guatemala, Chile, Pakistan.....But almost none of it appears in our news.
The item below is biased. But most of what it says is true. It's one-sided, but largely true. (I had trouble, however, with its reference to China as a 'communist' country. It's not, and never has been.)
As well, it's attack on BBC news is, alas, quite justified.
And here's a story you'll never find in private news media - or the BBC. It's a story that affects Canadians, too - the ones who served in Afghanistan. But The Legion is so busy being patriotic, it rarely looks at such issues.
And here's a column by a commentator who has to be taken very, very seriously.
I guess nobody at the Irving press knows what a superdelegate is at a leadership convention. Here's what it is, and why Clinton is going to win the leadership.
My mind keeps going back to Brian Murphy's commentary in the Irving press that if he were running for office, the big issue would be banning the use of 'the boot' to fine cars for parking. The sad thing is he could probably win an election just on that.feb. 19

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