Friday, April 15, 2016

April 15: The next, American revolution.

The Irving press hasn't said much about The Leap Manifesto by the NDP. We get a never ending series of commentaries by Liberal and Conservative politicians, none of them with anything useful to say. But rarely, if ever, a  commentary from any other party. In fact, The Leap Manifesto is about a series of quite necessary issues we have to deal with. (Of course, it's possible these are issues Mr. Irving does not care to deal with.)

Anyway, The Globe and Mail, not having the high standards of the Irving press, has published a commentary on it.
Last night, while watching one of the endless discussions of the US party leadership races, it dawned on my why they were all irrelevant. They don't see the impact of Bernie Sanders.

Clinton and Cruz are standard stuff - both owned by big money. Really, they are just carbon copies of most leadership candidates of the the last century and more. Trump has no coherent policies on anything. He is simply appealing to all people to pay attention to him. It's an extension of the sense of inadequacy that caused him to buy such a dreadful wig.

Sanders is something very different. He uses the word 'socialist' - and in a favourable way. Since 1945, at least - no American politician would have dared to use that word. In fact, it was usually blended with communism as "unAmerican". There was in those years a panic that swept the U.S. It was called McCarthyism, named for the senator who dominated headlines with his unAmerican Activities Committee. He destroyed lives. He destroyed careers by labelling people as unAmerican. Major hollywood stars like Gary Cooper licked his boots to escape censure. Since then, nobody has dared to mention socialist measures. That's why the U.S. has the world's most expensive (and one of the least effective) medical systems in the developed world.

Public education has been attacked by people who call it socialist. (Which, in fact, it is.) And that has led to a strong campaign for the last fifty years to privatize education, an endeavour that has managed to create a sort of hybrid public/private system which is one of the weakest -( and most expensive) in the developed world.

Sanders has changed that. The word 'socialism' is back in the American vocabulary. And it's back with a surprisingly large following. This is a stunning reaction to generations of right-wing propaganda; and it could well mark the re-birth of a socialist movement in the U.S.

This is the main and perhaps the only signficant feature of these leadership races.
And there's a bad side to it. Expect another rise of McCarthyism with its fears and hysteria about unAmericanism. And expect the America state to become more obsessed with domestic spying and destruction of  freedom supposedly in defence of the freedom it is destroying..

And, quite possibly, expect all that to lead to some pretty severe social disorder.
And here's a story the Irving press didn't have room for because it needed the space for a big, front page story on new  rules for sport fishermen. And, no, it had nothing in the way of an editorial or a commentary on this subject.

The world average temperature has gone up every month, setting new records for heat every month for the last eleven months. So, let's hurry and get those oil pipelines built before it gets too hot to do it.

Hasn't it occured to anybody in the oil industry that any money now spent on producing fossil fuels is an investment that cannot pay off? These projects are hugely expensive, so they take a long time to pay off. Any money we have now should be spent on developing alternative energy, not wasted on projects that can only be destructive.

Even blinded by greed, and even though sometimes lacking in intelligence as a result, even oil execs must have figured that out. But they're pushing ahead, anyway.  It can't be just greed and stupidity. It has to be greed - and some other angle they've dreamed up.
Then there's this story about thousands of refugees who are fleeing ISIS, but  being shot by Turkish troops when they try to get into Turkey. But that's not big enough to make the pages of the Irving press. It's headline story on word news is a breaking story that New Brunswick is asking for a New Brunswicker to be appointed to the National Energy Board that discusses really serious issues like pipelines. I mean, we're on a roll with boosting temperatures; so let's keep going.
And here is a range of reaction from around the world to the Panama Papers, the story the Irving press is still ignoring. Are you thinking about it, Norbert?Careful.  Puppy will get slapped if he barks.
This one should be required reading for everybody at Irving press.
And here's a story that never got much coverage in North America. And it's about a type of incident that has been repeated since then - many times.
Did you know that Syria recently held a national election? It certainly didn't make the Irving press. But here's a commentary about the election held just two days ago.

Assad is no sweetheart. But Syrians don't have a whole lot of choice at this point, do they? They certainly don't want the kind of people respresented by the so-called 'rebels' who are financed by the U.S.

Of course, the election  would not have been a democratic one like the U.S. where the winner is whoever gets the most backing from billionaires.
And so to the Irving press.

In Section A, the only news of significance is that the province will offer free tuition for lower-income students.

The editorial is largely about a Father McKee and his record of compassion for the poor. Well, yes. People should know about that. There should be a page for columns like this to remind us of our past. And Father McKee sounds like a person who should be remembered.

But this is not what an editorial is for. It is not for local boosterism.  It is supposed to explain the position taken by the newspaper on a major issue of the day - and the reasons for taking it. (Actually, I've never been crazy about editorials because, really - how can a newspaper have an opinion? Only people can do that. Does this mean everybody at the paper agrees with this? Or all the editors? Or all the editors and columnists?) The editorial belonged to an age when newspapers were openly biased, propaganda sheets. They still are, of course. But they really should now pretend to be honest. So skip the editorials.

Norbert's column, again, is not on a topic I know much about. But it sounds reasonable.

The guest commentary is by somebody who seems to sit on a lot of committees. I don't think I would care be on any of them. This is someone who has nothing intelligible to say, and can take a long time in saying it. Roughly, his message is,  'we must have hope. we must build a better future. And brush your teeth twice a day.'

If Alec Bruce has any fault, it's in his very long and wordy commentaries that could say all they have to say in one paragraph. In this case, the opening paragraphs are about dog training - and that theme keeps interfering through the whole column. Please. This is a province with, at best, a low literacy rate. Mr. Bruce needs to use language which is bluntly informative rather than fussily decorative.

GWYNNE DYER is back, at least for today! He has an excellent column on a topic the Irving press has largely ignored - The possible breakup of the European Union, almost certainly to be followed  by a Scottish secession from Britain. It's even worse than Dyer tells it in this column. We are looking at far more than a break-up of Europe. We're looking at the rise of an extreme right. We've seen it - well, we haven't if we just read the Irving press - but it's happening with the Naziis in the part of Ukraine that's on our side, with Poland and other countries, with strong support from the very right-wing press that dominates Europe and North America. This is very similar to Hitler's Germany of the early 1930s.
Canada&World, again, barely puts a toe out of Canada - except for a 'who cares story' about Trump's campaign manager, a story about Ireland and - the only one worth reading - a major earthquake in Japan. (Since then it has suffered an even more severe quake.)

The only major story in the section is that Ottawa has at last returned land that it took from a native people's reservation some 75 years ago. That's nice. But it's the tiniest possible step to what is needed.

Once again, the editor for this section shows no sense of what news is important in North America, and  shows, largely, an indifference to the rest of the world.
The world is on the brink of several wars and plots that could lead to a nuclear war. I can only assume the Irving editors think that if it happens, it will start on Main St., Moncton, NB, probably with an attack on the events centre.

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