Recently, this site has attracted a very large audience in the U.S. It has always had a steady, but small, U.S. readership - something to be expected of a blog that deals with a newspaper chain which is pretty small potatoes at best. Its U.S. audience has normally been in a league with audiences in France, Russia, Germany.... But now it has suddenly soared to beat all the others put together.
More curiously, that large, American audience appears in three, very narrow and sharp spikes per day. And each spike is of 140 hits - or very, very close to that. I have pairs of spikes side by side at 140 each, 141 each, and 138 each. That does not look like conincidence.
Obviously, it is possible that this site has come under the surveillance of U.S. thought police, probably working closely with our very own CSIS.
I intend to keep writing the blog. But I thought readers should be warned.
The front page has a story, again, on the moving of the public library to the old Moncton High building. The story tells us nothing, again. But it does have a good photo of the proposed alteration to the school, the one that is supposed to preserve its distinctive architectural character. Take a good look. Tell me how this preserves anything. Tell me how beautiful it is.
Then there's a big story on A8 about the first settlers of the Moncton area - the Acadians. Boy, talk about truth and reconciliation with native peoples!
There's a good letter on A10 on how the public needs the facts on MHS story. Good luck on getting the facts on anything out of the irving press.
For some reason, sombody at the paper decided it would be great to have an editorial by the editor and a column by Norbert Cunningham on the same subject and both, pretty much in agreement. The topic is the collection of garbage. Neither has anything original to say - but Norbert seems to have the edge in research and information on the topic.
Rod Allan shows that he still has lots of trivial, overwritten, pleased-with-himself columns in him.
Then there's another 'guest' commentary from the Atlantic Institute of Market Research. Generally, I have contempt for these, if only because I have contempt for anyone who would write for AIMS. This one is better-researched than usual. But it's only partially right.
First, he writes in response to calls for government to put a cap size on school classes. He says that large classes are not the problem. He says what's needed is better teaching.
But the request to put a cap size on classes that he refers to has nothing to do with smaller classes. Even the commentator would surely agree that a class of 500 in kindergarten would not be a good idea. Putting a cap on class sizes does not mean making them smaller. It means preventing them from getting too big.
Then he writes, duh, "A class of 30 students with a great teacher is far better off than a class of 15 with a poor teacher." Well, yeah. But, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has suggested we need small classes with poor teachers.
I have some agreement with the commentator's point about good teaching - though my own experience is that a teacher who geniuinely likes and cares about the students is more effective than one who is just up to date on the latest methods.
This is an illogical, sloppy, and confused commentary. But it's what AIMS likes - an excuse for cutting back on frills like education so we can relieve the tax burden on billionaires.
The Canada&World section is so shallow and trivial and narror that I would expect the editors of that section live in cages, and drag their knuckiles on the ground. Only two stories are worth reading.One is that the Canadian defence industry (and the Canadian government) are defending the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world. (And Canada has long since pledged not to sell weapons to such countries. Of course, so have Britain and the U.S. pledged - but both are pouring weapons on Saudi Arabia.) The story is the usual babble. The companies say they create jobs - a good reason to sell weapons to human rights abusers. The government says it is sure they would not shoot Saudi civilians with these weapons. Maybe not. But how come our government didn't tell us they wouldn't shoot civilians of, say, Yemen?
Anyway, the agreement we signed said we wouldn't sell weapons to human rights abusers - no matter who they were shooting at.
The other story is on General Vance and his belief Canada should return to an emphasis on peacekeeping. He's right - but the story then moves to Foreign Secretary Dion who also says we must do peacekeeping - and this is why we have to fight islamic militants. That's a remarkably stupid statement. In other words, we must do peacekeeping by fighting a war - and an American war at that.
We have to emphasize peacekeeping, and that's why we have to join the U.S. and others like Britain to fight ISIS? For openers, if our army is going to be for peacekeeping, it should be facing off against the most lawless invaders of our time - the U.S. and Britain. To get sucked into a war on their behalf (and, really, on behalf of the oil industry) is rank stupidity and/or hypocrisy.
What an awful section!
I don't much like TV. But there's a pretty interesting column on the failure of TV to show us the reality of poverty. It's on the front page of the Life section, the column by Kevin McDonough.
Page 5 has its usual, very professonal health column, by student columnist Aurelie Pare.
It would have been a simple matter for irving editors to find an important world story.
This one ( also in The Guardian) is that, for some years, the U.S. has been provoking trouble by moving nuclear weapons and bases as close as possible to China and Russia. In the case of China, in particular, this raises the danger of creating a situation in which China's nuclear arsenal - and much of China - could be destroyed in a first strike by the U.S.
China has now responded by saying it will put nuclear missile submarines into the Pacific.
The U.S. has, similarly, sent troops, ships, aircraft, missiles to surround Russia. And Russia is playing tit for tat by responding to these provocations with weapon and troop movement.
This is one hell of a dangerous game - and there cannot be the slightest doubt it has been provoked by the U.S. The U.S. began this. It has crossed the world to put forces close in for strikes on Russia and China. The latter two have, so far, not provoked with such action on any U.S. territory.
This is kind of important. There are people close to power in the U.S. who WANT a war. They actually WANT a nuclear war. Will Irving press please wake up?
Despite the severity of the crisis in Venezuela, despite the mass suffering, the possible violence to come, the irving press has not had time to mention it. What's happening is that Venezuela's economy has collapsed - largely because the oil barons have cut the price of oil for some time, now, to destroy governments that aren't submissive enough.
The usual suspects say the best thing for Venezuela would be to return to the free market (capitalism). It might, But that won't solve anything. The free market makes only oil barons rich. And it's not just oil countries being impoverished by the free market. Look at the poverty of Haiti, Guatemala, Panama...Look at Congo. Look at most of Africa. The idea that the free market creates prosperity is rubbish.
Venezuela was once a free market country. And it was very poor - with a tiny aristocracy of very rich. Capitalism is not good at distributing wealth. That's why the very richer get richer while everybody else gets poorer.
Here's a story of how military attacks on hospitals (over half of them deliberate) have killed almost a thousand people over past year and a half or so. The photo is of a destroyed hospital in Yemen. But that one must have been an accident because Mr. Dion has assured us that Saudi Arabia would never kill civilians.
And here is a very balanced account of the chaos in South America.
This article is related to a point I made earlier about deliberate American provocation of Russia and China. And note the qualifications of the writer. This is no rabble-rouser.
The following item, a long one, is about experiments the U.S. conducted on its own soldiers. In fact, this has been common in most armies for over a century - and sometimes on civilians. (Residue from the nuclear test at Bikini is still killing local people. So is the dumping of nuclear waste along the shores of Africa.) New Brunswick had its own brush with this in the case of Agent Orange.
I guess the next one isn't really news. But it's quite fascinating, even stunning. And it's much more interesting than the news.
Some day, we're going to have to call Israel to account for its behaviour towards its own Palestinian citizens as well as to Palestine, itself. Either that, or get sucked into another, very bloody war.
I guess we all have images of the link between religion and evilness - except when it's our religion and our evilness. i grew up in a Canada which still connected Judaism with greed. I learned by my teens that any judaic greed was left in the dust by the super greed of some Christians. Devout Christians, including Hitler and our ancestors who settled Canada and the U.S. happily murdered and starved people, as we did with native peoples. Christians were the first to use nuclear weapons - and deliberately used them on civilians. Christians bled China and India, and made China into the biggest drug market in the world. Christians so shattered Africa it has never recovered. It was a Christian, Lyndon Johnson, who happily had millions of Vietnamese murdered. But I've never heard any of these acts linked to Christianity as we link terrorism to Islam.
So, to any U.S. Christian domestic spies who might be making reports on this blog, God bless you for your Christian work in defending freedom.