Thursday, August 11, 2016

August 11: My birthday is coming. Think about that.

This article is kinder to Trump than I would be - but it's bang on about Clinton.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/mikhail-molchanov/what-does-security-establishment-attack-on-trump-say-about-establishment?utm_source=Daily+New
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Front page news - a panhandler has been banned from begging at a certain street corner. (Gee. could this be the start of a campaign against big panhandlers - like the irvings who ask for money from all of us?)

In other Section A big news that we NEED to know, a man got a jail sentence for a break-in and theft.

The editorial is its usual twisted logic. The NEB will take a couple of years to complete its 'study' of a pipeline. So it says we should start right away pumping shale gas. I suppose there's a connection between those two statements. Let me know if you can figure what it is.

And then there's Norbert. sigh!

This time its the health system - and he's in awe of a Mr. Rocca as a health expert because he's a businessman who sits on the board of Horizon Health Network. Then he dumps on our politicians for being uninformed and inactive.

Norbert, there is no difference between our big business and our Liberal and Conservative politicians. They are closely related breeds who work together as master and servant.

Nor do I understand why a businessman, ( however respected he might be) should be an authority on health. A real authority on health, Dr. Cleary, was recently fired - and by whom?

Not by the politicians. As you say, Norbert, they're a pretty slow-footed lot. Can you guess who was almost certainly responsible for that firing? Thnk hard. It's a name you know well, a businessman who is respected wherever people are gullible and unthinking and scared....

Instead of a commentary, Rod Allen tells us a story about fishing for lobster. Alec Bruce doesn't really have a column either. It's a long and self-satisfied story about how he broke free of a job to try something new. it's a nice story. But completely out of touch with the realities of life for those people who have to live on poverty wages, have little education, and so can't afford to walk out of editorial jobs to become columnists.

There's a well-written commentary on a local matter in Alberta. But it's not clear why this is a matter of import to New Brunswick readers.

The last page of news you must know is that a preliminary hearing in a murder case is set for late January. I must make a note of that.
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Let's take a break here to discuss an issue that this paper often mentions - but to no useful purpose.

The rate of literacy in New Brunswick is low. We  often blame the schools because that's a cheap and easy way out. But it's not valid.

No matter what the training and quality of the schools might be, learning is very, very different for various groups of children. Education for a working class child is different from that of a middle class child which in turn is different from that of a wealthy child. That has nothing to do with the schools. It has to do with social class and social environment.

You will find the same sort of differences in the context of  parental and social values which can differ greatly.

When I was a kid, most of my friends were illiterate. They weren't stupid. They grew up in a district and in  homes that had no interest in reading. As a result, they did badly in almost everthing. I was saved because my father was a reader, and he encouraged me to think of reading as a normal thing to do.

Grade 10 meant a new school - and kids of a type I had never met before. Mostly Jewish, these were kids who took reading far beyond my cowboy novels, who casually discussed things I had never heard of. I learned a bit from them - but I never fit in. I duked classes, got a lonely start on real education by visiting museums and art galleries while skipping school, but still got kicked out in grade 11 while failing. It was the same in the following ten years of my education.
I got introduced to debating in an evening high school class. That's what made it possible for me to  handle over 25 years of radio, TV and public speaking. All the way through, I encounted new values and skills that the other students had known about since childhood.

It's trite but true to say that communities, families educate children as much as schools do. Or more.

Now let's look at New Brunswick. It's highly conformist. God forbid anyone should look or think or talk or act different from anyone else.

It's frightened - perhaps because of the power and dominance of a few families. It doesn't discuss. It doesn't debate. It doesn't think. What will we have in our 'events' centre? We'll have hockey, and pop groups wearing sparkling lights
This is a society which discourages reading because it's afraid of thinking. And the irving press is an active player in making sure it stays that way.
How about a column on that Norbert?
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Section B? For the fourth  day in a row, the big story in world news is the squabbling within the New Brunswick Conservative party. For the rest? Apparently, nothing is happening in the world. News coverage like that is what creates illiteracy.
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The choice of words in t his next column indicates a heavy bias. So does its summary of the background to the Crimean/Ukraine crisis. But the basic argument makes sense. Russian military action in Crimea is quite possible - and very soon. And, as the article hints without saying, it's a direct reaction to the U.S. planting nuclear missiles near the Russian border - and to the U.S. sending of (Canadian and other) troops into Latvia.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/10/russia-accuses-ukraine-of-armed-crimea-incursion
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There are no good guys in the fighting for Aleppo. Not the Sytrians. Not the Russians. Not the rebels. Not the Jihadists. The only good guys are doctors who risk their lives to save lives, and the civilians who are dying.
Certainly, the Russians and Syrians are the major figures in the bombing of Aleppo. But, sadly and evilly, the murder of civilians has been standard practice by all militaries since the Spanish civil war, at least. The U.S. is funding the 'rebels' and the terrorists.

The only humane solution for Syria is a negotiated one.  But that is unacceptable because it would almost certainly lead to Syria controlling its own oil.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/11/last-doctors-aleppo-obama-help-stop-hospital-bombing
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Information Clearing House is again silent. I don't know the meaning of that.
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I was attracted to this next item by its quotations from Einstein which are superb insights into what capitalism is really all about. But I was also drawn by the major topic of it - the quality of Russia Times (RT) as a news source. In recent years, Russian propaganda has generally been based on truth, unlike western propaganda which can be blatantly lying.

But propaganda is still propaganda.   And leaving out parts of the story is just as bad as lying. I still read RT - but cautiously.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/08/11/with-joking-russian-tv-the-best-source-of-electronic-news-and-information-available-woe-is-us/
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This next one is a long read, and a bit of a heavy one. But what it discusses is something that is happening wherever you live. And, yes, it is true that academics and politicians who will defend what is happening can be bought - even here in New Brunswick. And, yes, the news media will avoid the topic.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/08/11/media-silence-and-the-agrochemicals-industry-the-slow-poisoning-of-health-and-the-environment/
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Karl Nerenberg is one of the best journalists this country (and most others) has ever seen. Here, he suggests we may be entering an age of political dynasties. In Canada, we have Justin Trudeau who would have spent his lfe as nobody in particular - if his father had not been Pierre Trudeau.

Then there's Hillary Clinton who is a presidential candidate only because her husband was President.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2016/06/weve-gone-back-to-age-political-dynasties

It's a lot like those people who become corporation presidents only because daddy was a corporation president.
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By the way, Mr. Khan, who spoke to Democrat Convention with his hand over his heart and holding up a copy of the American constitution---remember him?
What was he talking about? Think hard about this. He was there to praise his son for taking part in an illegal invasion, and taking part in the killing of over a million innocent people.

Notice he didn't hold up a copy of the Bible? or the Qu'ran? And his hand was not on his heart for either Chistiam or Muslim beliefs. It was there to pledge a much higher allegiance than any to God or Allah. He held up the constitution to pledge allegiance to the United States.

Some of our clergy might give thought to the significance of that. They might even recall an old Pete Seeger favourite song, "Which side are you on?"

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