Thursday, June 2, 2016

May 2: How to write an editorial without saying anything

Today, I received my copy of The Brief    ( It has a story that our  irving newspaper missed. Irving should be paying a property tax of 8 million dollars a year to the city of St. John for its liquid natural gas property.

But it's been paying only $500,000 each year for the last 11 years.

The Irving newspaper in St. John defends this with the excuse that  Irving creates a hundred jobs and donates money to the hospital and other causes. That's the excuse for robbery that should become the New Brunswick motto.

In reality, we all create jobs. Every time we lunch at Tim Horton's, get a haircut, or buy an Iphone we create jobs. But we're still expected to pay taxes.

Irving, like any businessman, creates jobs that will make HIM money - and not one job more than that. And he will pay the lowest wages he can get away with. And not one cent more. And Mr. Irvinig is not a fairy godmother with a wand who runs around the province to spread prosperity  - despite his award from those turkeys at Chamber of Commerce who honoured him for the help he gives to poor children with their reading. (And despite yesterday's gushing photo of him in the Irving press supposedly teaching a poor child to read. For a moment, I thought this must be a Florence Nightingale gone to seed.)

When the wealthy of this province pay low taxes - or none at all - it spreads poverty. And the donations which put them into philanthropic halls of fame don't change that.  What it amounts to is that the wealthy in this province spread poverty my making all of us pick up the slack they leave. Then they give a small part of it back (with photo ops and gushing news reports); and we're all supposed to clap hands.

All of this copy of Media Co-op is pretty good, including articles on homelessness, and native peoples suing the government over its giveaways of forests to you-know-who with you know who's frenzied cutting of them, and spraying with poisons.
Everything on the front page of today's irving press should be inside. It just ain't front page news. Outstanding for its nothingness is a big story about Dominic Leblanc. Inside, there's another big story about the great issue of our time, the right to bring Quebec beer over the border. (This is how the media dumb down a whole population).
The editorial starts as though it's going to be a good one on the moving of the library. It starts as though it's going somewhere, but constantly makes changes of direction from one focus to another. Still, I had hope; and I stuck with it to the last sentence. And that was to name a question that the editorial had not touched on. So all we're left with is a question with not even a hint of an answer. " the development served best by a library at its present location or at a new one?"
Shouldn't this last point have been the opening sentence, with the rest of the editorial discussing it?

Norbert insists on writing more about a topic of which he knows nothing - education.

Rod Allen's commentary, as usual, isn't a commentary. As usual, it's a leaden attempt at telling an amusing story. I'm sure he'd be a great laugh in a bar - but only toward the end of the evening.

Above him is another non-commentary. It's actually an advertising pitch for moving the library to the old MHS building. It's put entirely in financial terms with not a mention of how this will affect the people who use the library. (This is, of course, a typical Irving press approach.)

(It is accompanied by an architect's sketch of the proposed alterations.  Take a close look, especially at the right side of the building, and at the ghastly addition at the corner - and tell me how that protects the architectual heritage of the building.)

No. This isn't a commentary. It's a free ad for Denis Cochrane who has a stake of some sort in all this.

Alec Bruce has an excellent commentary - and with good news - on the subject of energy. I think, though, that we are going to have to move even more quickly than he suggests. The climate change threat can not be handled simply by changing energy sources. We  should be thinking very seriously and very quickly about changes we have to make in the way we live.

Or, we could put it all in the hands of the irvings who, I'm sure, would be happy to deal with the issue. They're very big on the environment.
There's nothing much in section B unless you're a fan of the Dennis Oland saga.
B5 has a story that's an eye-opener on slavery in this world - some 45 million people, many of them children. In fact, it's much worse than that with the near-slavery in, for example, mining companies in South America, Africa and Asia - and with Canadian companies prominent in the game.

Perhaps the ace reporters of the Irving press could find out whether New Brunswickers have any prominence in this.

Then there's the story on B3 that 20,000 children are trapped in the battle for Fallujah in Iraq. We could use some comment from someone like Gwynne Dyer. This crisis, along with ISIS, with Libya, with Syria owes much to the disastrous decision of Bush and Blair to invade Iraq, and to lie about the reasons for it.

There's not the slightest doubt about it. They lied. Then they murdered a million or so people. Then they created a fake rebellion in Syria with its uncounted dead, orphans, refugees. And now, it's brought us to the edge of a world, nuclear war.
Most of the Americans who are now choosing leaders don't know that Bush lied. Even as they mourn the American dead, they don't know that their president lied about the reason for that war. A great many Canadians don't know either. Our news media have not covered themselves with glory in digging for the truth - not that it requires digging. It's well proven by now that Hussein had no weapons of 'mass destruction', and  he was no threat to the U.S.

Bush and Blair should be tried and hanged. But it's not going to happen.

This is similar to the refusal of Obama to apologize by the nuclear bombing of two, Japanese cities. Ninety-percent of Americans will say Truman had to order that bombing because invading Japan   would have cost the U.S. high casualties.
It was shown many times that Truman lied. Japan didn't have much of an army in Japan. And the forces it did have had no fuel - and not the slightest chance of getting any. Nor could it import food because it was surrounded by the American fleet and did not have even fuel to send the shattered remains of its own fleet to attack them.

Japan was ready to surrender. Truman knew it. But he wanted a surrender quickly, before the Russians could make too much progress against the Japanese and move into China. He also wanted the bombing as a warning to Russia.
That's why half a million civilians died.
Gee. How could  the Irving press miss the big story  that Canada has the worst record in the Americas for protecting its oceans? In fact, the extent of protection is .011%.

The Guardian, by the way, has an excellent section on the environment.
Here's an African problem that isn't just African and isn't just the result of political corruption.  You can find it equally in South America, and in the oil fields of the middle east. Capitalism, unlike the image we're told of it as spreading prosperity, more often spreads poverty. That's why some of the most resource-rich countries in the world are also among the poorest for the peoplel who live there.
Then there's the man who has been held and tortured in Guantanamo Bay for 14 years - with no charges ever laid, and with no evidence against him. That's become a common practice for the 'land of the free' where even American citizens have been imprisoned without charge or trial.

Ever seen a story about that in the irving press?
This is the best summary I've so far seen of Trump and Netanyahu - and Clinton.
Here's Ralph Nader on Trump. I think he's right about Trump's character - but wrong about the chance that he can be beaten for the Republican leadership. Nor would it help if he were beaten. His competitors are just as bad as he is - but in a different way.
Because of Sanders, Obama and Clinton have shown a sudden interest in raising taxes of the rich to pay for social benefits for the poor. Will they do it? I doubt it very much. Neither showed any interest in the poor until Bernie Sanders made it an issue. I know of no evidence that Obama and Clinton give a damn about the poor. As well, how are they going to raise taxes on rich, many of whom don't pay taxes anyway? And how are they going to do it without taking money away from a very corrupt defence industry - which contributes to the politicians?
Here's an update on the drowning of refugees in the Meditteranean this year. Why is this happening? Because American oil capitalists want to control the world supply of oil. And they really don't give a damn what the consequences are.

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