Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March 9: Editors write headlines.

Editors write headlines.

At least, that's what they're supposed to do. They read copy to see that it's  well-written and  to determine precisely what the story is about. Then they write a headline to tell us what it's about. Today's front page headline is "Medical community calls for public discussion on pot".

But that's not what the story is about. Just think - what does the term 'medical community' mean to you? Surely it means doctors, nurses, hospital staff in general....  But the story isn't about those. It's about drug store chains. They want to be the ones selling pot. The New Brunswick Medical Society is quoted near the end of the article; but it doesn't say a word about who should sell it.

I don't know whether this is incompetent editorial work, or whether the drug chains told the Irving press to print it this way. Given the record of the Irving press, either incompetence or lack of ethics or both  could explain this.

The only story worth readinig in Section A news is on A4. It's about what the Moncton Library is doing to encourage children to read. As it happened, I was in the library just before writing this. Dozens of bright and happy children (very young ones) were sitting on the floor, waiting for the start of their fun class in reading.

The editorial is a sermon from The High Church of Private Business telling us that only private business should sell pot. Maybe that's why the front page has that misleading headline.  Norbert writes on a minor topic he knows nothing about. Brian Cormier has his usual, pointless little story.

The guest column, as is often the case, is a political one. But this one is worth reading. It's about New Brunswick's failure to deal with domestic violence. The photo above the column is about workers at a U.S. newspaper cheering because they won a Pulitzer Prize. The connection between that and domestic violence is not clear to me.

Alec Bruce's column is boosterism for the new hockey rink (Events Centre) and how it will stimulate business all along Main Street.  But that prophecy is on shaky ground. I well remember the old Montreal Forum where the Canadiens played to full houses - as did the circus and dozens of other events. It was on a Montreal main street. And its neighbours? A small bar across the street. A used book store. A used clothing store operated by a church. In all the wonderful years of the Forum, its site was the deadest part of the street for shopping. And Montreal's new hockey rink? It attracted only one, new store - a   sandwich shop.
And that's section A.
Canada&World has nothing of particular interest - unless you are one of those following the Dennis Oland case with bated breath. Yemen still doesn't exist. Nor do Asia, Africa or South America. Ukraine? The editor never heard of it.
The story that our MPs have approved the new Canadian mission to Iraq ignores the major part of the story.  The position of the Liberal government and of the Conservatives is we'll just be sort of hangin' out on Syria. Just setting up targets, training troops, perhaps occasional combat.

The reality is that we have voted for war. Trudeau has caved in to American pressure for us to be involved in a war that has nothing to with us - and that is illegal under international law, and under agreements signed by Canada.
When you send troops to another country, you can dress them in tu-tus and ballet slippers and say they're just there to  entertain the kiddies. It doesn't matter. It is still an invasion and an act of war. You cannot do that unless 1. that country poses a provable threat to  you or 2. you are invited by the legal government of that country.

Neither of those applies in this case. We are illegally invading a country.
If this turns into a disaster  (like Iraq and Afghanistan and just about every other American foreign policy initiative for the last fifteen years (some would say since the 1967 war in Egypt) has been a disaster. And, if it does, we will be a part of that disaster. And no doubt we will salute the hearses on our 'highway of heroes', and remember them on Nov. 11. But the truth will be that we sent them to die, and sent them for no reason but to please the U.S.

And why is the mighty U.S. so keen to have the support of Canada - and Britain and France and The Netherlands and others to defeat a relatively tiny enemy?
Because this is intended as a signal to Russia and perhaps to China. As we used to say when I was a kid, "You fight me; you fight my gang. Vien pas; march allez, maudit."

We have no   legal right to be involved in any way in this war. We have no national interest at stake. And we are playing with fire in a war that has done nothing but get out of hand since it started. Over a hundred years later, this is the Boer War all over again - but worse. Then we fought to help wealthy British steal the gold fields of South Africa. This time, we're there to help American billionaires steal the oil fields of the middle east.

This is a situation that shows every sign of getting out of control, and the American record of allowing these things to get disastrously out of control has been marked for the last fifty years. So why did both Liberals and Conservatives approve this?

For the same reason both approved the Boer War. Canadians died in the Boer War because Canadian big business relied on British economic power. Today, Canadian big business relies on U.S. economic power.
Surprisingly, the Irving press has had little to say about the idea of a basic income for all Canadians. This would, we are assured, do away with the need - and cost - for many of our existing social programmes.

I like the idea - but am suspicious about the support it is getting from all parties, including those that don't really care that many people are poor. Senator Hugh Segal, for example, is not a person whom one would associate with social concern. He is now the one who suggests a basic income would take the heat off medicare. Oh? And would this be a step to privatize medicare so we could have an 'efficient' system like that of the U.S.?

I like the idea of basic income. But I'm not sure that all those Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Greens are talking about the same thing when they speak of it.
For a change of pace, here is a list of the 21 wealthiest Christian clergy in the world. It begins with Billy Graham who, when he died, was worth  $5 million. The other 20 have done even better - up to a million a year and more, with manses supplied that are really multi-million dollar mansions. Personal worth can be up to $150 million.

Interestingly, all are of evangelical sects. And, typically, their churches operate on strictly business lines. Warning, this is an extremely annoying site with lots of pop-up ads.
Here's an interesting piece on life in Ukraine - from an angle you're not likely to find in private, North American news media. It does not go into how western capitalists have so badly looted Ukraine and how this has created a nation of poverty. But it does give a pretty good idea of what the results have been.
And here's one on Russia you're not likely to find in North American news media.
Canadian news media have told us daily about the warmth of the Obama welcome to Trudeau. But I have seen any attempts to explain it. This article doesn't convince me. But at least it recognizes that these big shows are created for a reason.
I have an uneasy feeling I may already have run this one. It reminds me that Canada and the U.S. have long histories of acting toward immigrants in the way that Europe and the U.S. are now reacting to Syrians.

New France would not accept non-Catholics - and I would assume that was also true of Acadia. In 1776, the U.S. was barely over 1% Roman Catholic. In most of the 19th century, only a tiny number of Jews was permitted.

Irish immigration was discouraged. The beginning of the Irish surge came with the Irish famine of the mid-nineteenth century. But there was discrimination from the start so that Irish Catholics were largely condemned to poverty for generations. Discrimination against Irish Catholics was notable until the mid-19th century.

The immigration of poor Jews caused a wave of anti-semitism that began in the 1890s, and continued into World War Two and even well after. In the years immediately following World War Two, German immigrants who were nominally Christian were welcomed in Canada. Jews of any sort were not.
All of the peoples listed above are now accepted without question, and are commonly recognized as welcome additions to our society. In Canada, Blacks were not welcome, a condition that still exists to some degree in parts of Canada, and has become a feature of life in the U.S.  Canadians, with the exception of an unpleasant few, seem to have learned from all  that experience.
Americans have not.
Often, support for Israel seems to many to be the only way to go. However, many North American Jews do not feel that way. They want peace with Palestine, and they don't support Israeli behaviour.

However, I didn't know that there are Orthodox (very conservative) Jews in North America who go even further.
A reader sent me the site below. I haven't yet had time to fully study it. But it looks promising - and even fun.

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