Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23: not a nice day

The big, front-page story in the irving press is that Moncton's mayor wants a solution to the car-booting issue. That's nice, even commendable. But it's scarcely a big story of the day. And it gets worse. Its companion on front page is a story that New Brunswick needs a new generation of truckers. Think about that.

The world is going under to climate change. And our great need is a whole new generation of truckers so we can burn lots of fossile fuels for forty years to come.
And the rest of section A doesn't get any better.

The editorial left me hopelessly confused. "Celebrate Queen Victoria, but Canada's future, too." I can quite agree it's time to dump Vicky, a thoroughly self-absorbed woman of no great intelligence who never did anything useful. But to celebrate a future that hasn't happened yet? That makes no sense at all.  Anyway, Victoria Day doesn't celebrate Victoria, anyway. And it hasn't for at least a century.  It's just a day off.

Then it wobbles into the idea featuring a prominent Canadian woman for the May holiday. Then switches to a Mi'qmac grand chief who fully cooperated with Jacques Cartier and the French, converted to Catholicism and adopted a French name. Thus, according to the editorial, helping to found our nation.

I'm not sure that native peoples would be nearly as thrilled by that as the editorial suggests.

Craig Babstock's commentary is trivial, as usual.

Steve Malloy is on burning question our day - the right to buy enough beer in Quebec to get decently sozzled back home in New Brunswick. Alec Bruce writes about premier Gallant's love of travel - but really says nothing. And that leaves us with Norbert.

He''s brilliant. He writes on climate change. He doesn't rant. This is solid, common sense - something which is not common at all. I would just add one point. He mentions large numbers of Americans moving to Canada to get away from the climate problems showing up in states. This could be a very big problem, indeed, big enough to become th end of Canada.

Think. You are an American billionaire who needs the large American population to vote for the parties that the billionaires control, who needs their taxes and their bodies to fight  his endless and expensive wars. Do you really believe they would allow large numbers of those voters and taxpayers amd potential warriors tosimply walk away to create a U.S that would be weaker?

No way. Canada would be annexed tp become states. And a Justin Trudeau (or a Harper) would be their boy.
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In a miserable, four pages of Canada&World news, one of the biggest stories is about a dress designer in Halifax who sells tartan dresses. Then there's the same story we've read a dozen times about the fire at Fort McMurray. I've yet to see an irving story that even mentions the  role of climate change in this.

There's a nothing story about Trudeau visiting Japan for trade talks. There's no mention, for example, that Japan trade is being proposed at a price that means giving up almost all control over our own environment.

Then,Trudeau solemnly tells us that China is a real threat to Japan. Any commentary columnist who can find Wikkipedia on the web could  have written a column of instruction for Justin.

Of all the major power in this world, China has, for centuries been the least likely to invade anybody. The U.S. has invaded other people's lands in almost every year since it was created. Ditto for Britain and France and Spain and Portugal for some centuries. One of their favourites for invasion was China.  

Japan has long been a happy and vey brutal invader invader. Ask any Canadian who served at Hong Kong in 1941 orthe Russians who got invaded by Japan in  1900. Ask the Chinese who suffered long years of murder and famine and Brutality in World War Two.

Then check China's history of invasion for the last several thousand years. It's relatively slim pickings.

Canada has a more aggressive history than China does.

So we have a prime minister who doesn't know what he's talking about. And a press that doesn't know enough to question him.

The Canada news is trivial and even silly. The world news doesn't exist.
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In this story, we are told that that Russian and Chinese aircraft are patrolling international air spece, but close to American coasts. And the U.S. feels this is very dangerous. Gee! The U.S.  would never do such a thing. Well, except in the Baltic, or the South China Sea or, possibly, almost the Russian land border - or perhaps via its thousand or so bases all over the world. Oh, and the Black Sea.
Notice that the article never mentions any of this.

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/us/threat-from-russian-and-chinese-warplanes-mounts/ar-BBtkG1B?ocid=spartandhp
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The trouble with stories like the ones below is they don't realize that we need to build oil pipelines and get more truckers because - duh - they create jobs. That's why our politicians and oil billionaires  (bless their little hearts) have so far done close to nothing about climate change. That's why we're preparing an invasion of Libya ( something the irving press didn't consider worth mentioning). It's not because of ISIS. And it's not because most of us give a damn about Libya. It's because Libya is bursting with oil. And western oil billionaires want to control it, all of it. Hey. they want to create jobs. They're real sweethearts that way. Look how rich they've made Iraq.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/23/world-could-warm-by-massive-10c-if-all-fossil-fuels-are-burned

P.S. Don't worry about the year 2200. The world would be dead long before that. And good luck if you're counting on Justin.
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But don't worry. I'm sure our world leaders and the billionaires they serve will do the right thing.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2016/may/23/indias-record-breaking-heatwave-in-pictures

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/may/22/southern-africa-worst-global-food-crisis-25-years
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And this comment spoke to my heart. I'm having the same problems as the commentator. Damn microsoft. Damn Windows 10.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/may/23/microsoft-windows-ten-10-software-update-problems-iplayer
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This next one seems extreme. But I'm  inclined to accept it because 1.the west has centuries of proving it is as aggressive, murderous and thieving as the article says and 2. I've always found Paul Craig Roberts to be a pretty reliable commentator.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44715.htm
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The next story is crackpot. But I think it's real. (I've heard of samples of it in Canada, too.)  This comes at a time when a victory for either Trump or Clinton will provoke serious anger from the many who hate either - or both.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/05/21/armed-with-guns-and-constitutions-the-patriot-movement-sees-america-under-threat/
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This one is about how the U.S. government claims to be fighting terrorism when, in reality, it has been financing, supplying and even training terrorist groups for years. It's really old news. But it has yet to appear in the irving press.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44709.htm

The story below it is a Saudi claim that the American government staged 9/11. It's possible, I suppose - though I doubt it. Certainly, I would not rush to take the word of a Saudi official.
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It's always hard to guess what news readers want. It's especially tough with countercurrents.org

Much of its commentary will seem esoteric to most readers. But it's worth checking out from time to time to see what rouses your curiosity.
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I also found several items arguing that Jesus was a homosexual. That's quite possibly true - but it's a  hard sell. The average Canadian, 21st century heterosexual Christian will feel that Jesus was of, course, just like him or her - and voted Liberal or Conservative, and bought Lotto Canada tickets every week. Many scholars who have spent their lives studying the subject say he was almost certainly a homosexual. But what do they know?
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I found the article below on World War Two a little questionable on its avoidance of Russia's occuption of Poland after the war - but  quite reasonable in its main point. The U.S. planting of missiles on the European borders of Russia does nothing to protect the people of Eastern Europe. Worse, it puts Eastern Europe on the front line should a war break out.

At every stage of World War 2, the U.S., like most countries, put first the interests of those who controlled it - in this case, the very wealthy. It deliberately impoverished Britain during and after the war so that we now see a puppy dog British government wagging its tail at whatever its master tells it do do.

In the same way, the U.S. controls almost all the European countries. They have become economic servants and battle fodder. It tried, but failed to get control of the British and French empires. The colonies of those empires beat out both the Americans and their old, European rulers.

It also failed to get control of China - a task it is now assigning to Japan. Its only great success was stealing control of British and French-owned oil fields in the middle east - and now even that is in danger.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article191828.html

The author of this article was, of course, jailed last week by the freedom loving government of Poland. I am not aware of any objection to this from the North American press.( I doubt whether the irving press even knows about it.)
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Something to watch for -- Democrat contender Bernie Sanders has to start a new party. Even if he were to win  the presidency, he would never be able to achieve anything with a Democrat party that is fully as corrupt and bought by big money. In fact, Hillary Clinton has far the largest campaign fund, one big enough to buy both her and the party.

Both parties are very old apples that are rotten to the core. And there is not the slightest chance they will change. There probably isn't time before the presidential election. But nothing useful is going to happen until a third party is formed.

Americans don't have a democracy; and they don't have choices. So far, the country has hung together on the basis of myths and illusions which are collapsing into pure anger. So far, it's anger that has little direction but violence. And that could be very, very dangerous for all of us.
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Saturday, May 21, 2016

May 21: Well, I never - a rich man who doesn't pay taxes!

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/video/news/past-returns-prove-trump-has-paid-zero-income-tax-in-previous-years/vi-BBti925?ocid=spartandhp

A man has made so  much money he can finance his own run for president and have his own private jet. But he didn't make enough to pay any income taxes. And this is a man that a public, angry at such excesses, is turning to for leadership.

The Irving press didn't have the story; but we will seldom see a more iimportant one. This could well destroy Trump's chances even of getting the nomination.And, leaving the angry with a choice of just Hillary Clinton,  create some serious violence.

This could be the final blow to any  belief in the 'American Dream'. It could turn into an anger that will only be destructive because the American media have never given people a sense that there are other choices.

( Or it could force the warhawks to make their move for world conquest now - before it's too late.)

Or the American people could already be so propagndized it won't have any effect at all.

And it can't possibly help Sanders becaue there is no way  the party bosses are going to allow him to win the nomination.

Gee! I wonder if there are any rich people in Canada who don't pay taxes. Nah. If there were, the irving press would have told us.
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Nor has the Irving press had much to say about Justin Trudeau's use of his elbow. To my knowledge, there is no parallel to this in the  history of Canadian government. And it suggests something more serious than coarse manners. It suggests that Justin is very much over his head in the role of prime mininster. He never offerred more than good looks and his father's name. He has never really achieved anything. And there's no sign he has any idea of what has to be achieved. A CBC anyalyst put it well...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justin-trudeau-elbow-impact-politics-1.3589849

There has been no sign that he and Dominic Leblanc have any social values or any political principles begond winning elections. And Trudeau's anger suggests that he, at least, has some sense of his inadequacies.
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The crash of an Egyptian airliner is fading fast - though with lots of hints and an outright charge from Trump that it was a terrorist act. What's lost in this is common sense.

If terrorists did this, why didn't they announce it? It would make no sense whatever for terrorists to  hide their involvement in such an act. The whole point of terrorist attacks is to stir up an overreaction from the western world - and to attract desperate people to their cause. Indeed, one might expect them to claim credit even if they didn't do it.
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The most important news story I could find in Section A of my paper is that a new Tim Hortons has opened in Moncton. And the dining room has seats.
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The editorial is about parking meters whose parking .money goes to the poor. But some have been smashed, and the money stolen. Without even a hint of evidence, the editorial blames panhandlers. It is gracious enough to admit that it could be the pub crawlers of the area. But in the end it calls for legal action against panhandlers. So far, it hasn't called for any action at all against those wealthy who, in tax avoidance, steal a lot more than parking meter quarters.

Once again, Norbert has a plan for university spending. Once again, he doesn't know what he's talking about. He says university administrators get paid too much. Quite true. But he seems to be unaware that 'too much' is because salaries at that level are largely set by the business people who dominate the university boards of governors. And they pay the same sort of absurd salaries that they pay  to business executives. (The administrator salaries are admittedly not so absurd as the business executive ones. But it's the same idea.)

As for bloated professor salaries, come off it. After six years as a public school teacher, I went through five more years to get a PhD - Yes, I had scholarships. But they came nowhere close to living costs. At the end of it, I had a huge debt - and got a university job at the same salary as I would have had if I had stayed in public school teaching.

Norbert takes a business approach to university education - and that business approach is precisely what has the universities in trouble. If Norbert really wants to find a solution, he might look at poor countries, like Cuba, who have been able to provide free university education for all who want it. Why advocate more of big   business methods when they obviously don't work?

Brian Murphy, again, says nothing that could offend (or challenge) anybody. This one is a pitch for  Sophie Gergoire. (In Quebec, women keep their maiden names after marriage.) Murphy argues that she is qualified to organize groups to deal with things like eating disorders because she was a media personaliy. (So was I, Brian. Could you get the premier to pay me to give speeches as chief medical officer of NB?)

Canada has a great many women who work very hard on various causes, and who do good work - even though they have never had radio or TV   experience. They also don't have wealthy husbands.

Is Brian Murphy suggesting Ottawa should provide them all with offices and staff and domestic help? If not, why is Sophie Gergoire the only one so valued?

Because she's the prime minister's wife. That's why.

Murphy's first paragraph is pure, childish blather. Trudeau has received worldwide praise for the manner in which he took on the job? That's just mindless drivel. He's drawn interest because he's telegenic.

He has been the most accessible western political leader in decades? I doubt very much whether Mr. Murphy can even name all the western political leaders - not now, and certainly not over decades.

I do know that Pierre was far more accessible than Justin will ever be.  And Pierre never elbowed anybody in the gut. Like all of Mr. Murphy's columns so far, this is one is dreadfully shallow.

Alec Bruce has a column so pointless it could have been written by Brian Cormier.

The only item in all of Section A worth reading is the commentary on children's literacy by Erin Schryer. But, oh, it would be nice if New Brunswick parents could set an example for their children by reading.

Well, in fairness, it was pretty exciting to read the story about how the new Tim Hortons will have seats.
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There is no reason to read Canada&World news. However, C6 has the best commentary on transgender washrooms I have yet seen. It's 'A few thoughts on gender and public washrooms' by student columnist Amanda Cormier.
As she says, let the world pee in peace. Amen.

The sermonette by Jichard Jackson of First Moncton United Baptist is short. But it's a pleasant surprise. Instead of having a narrow focus on how to get yourself into heaven, it touches on the wide range of issues that Christians (and people of all religions) should address. That means loyalty to the principles of faith is more important than loyalty  to any political party and even more important than loyalty to a country.

The meaning is clear. The churches should address these issues.  I am not suggesting that churches should have any direct control over government. But they should encourage the political thinking of people who claim to be Christian.
There may have been very small political parties in Canada that were shaped by churches. But I know of only one in our history that was founded largely on principles that were Christian (and also shared by other faiths.)  That was the CCF - the ancestor of the NDP - whose major founder was a Methodist clergyman. And it's no coincidence that Canadian medicare was founded by a Baptist, Reverend Tommy Douglas. One can still find echoes of this in the United Church but, oh, you have to listen closely.       ( In fairness, you have to listen closely to hear echoes in any church. Richard Jackson is a very pleasant exception.)
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Here in Canada. where we fire chief medical officers who do  their job, and where news media owned by the wealthy hire hacks to babble about how we should privatize health care and run it like a business, it's nice to hear from real experts on what privatization is really like.

http://thedoctorweighsin.com/healthcare-in-the-u-s-is-broken-its-time-to-fix-it/?http://thedoctorweighsin.com/canada
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The news from Israel constantly gets worse.  I can remember the jubilation of my Jewish friends in the early years of Israel. Then I watched their disappointment as it became increasingly a place of hate and racism. My friends still followed (and still follow today) Judaic tradition and practices. But they feel no attachment to Israel. Now, Netanyahu is taking an even more racist and vicious turn.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/20/israel-turned-right-netanyahu-brutal-reshuffle-obama-last-push
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This next item concerns the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership. The British people, for good reason, show strong signs of being opposed to it. One reason, it that it could be used to kill Britain's health system. It could kill Canada's, too. But the Canadian people don't know that because the 'approachable' Justin Trudeau and our billionaiaire-owned news media haven't told us much about it.

The TPTP is not just another trade deal. It's a revolution; and it's not a revolution to benefit us.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/20/david-cameron-support-ttip
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In the lead story of Zenit, the Pope is having a meeting with a leading Muslim of the middle east. He does more to reach out for world peace than most of our political leaders put together. Obviously,  and like Richard Jackson of First Moncton Baptists, he sees no separation  between religious values and political activity.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/154d073519d0cc66
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And here's a comment on how 'approachable' Justin Trudeau has been on the issue of TPTP.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/154cfdcb243ba14e
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Here's the pope again on a subject I can't imagine Norbert Cunningham discussing.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/154ce1ec4c61e9d2
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Could this have anything to do with climate change? Shouldn't we ask?

http://news.sky.com/story/1699543/record-51c-temperature-recorded-in-india
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The following item refers to a point I made earlier in this edition - but does it in a much fuller way.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44708.htm
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And this one is very useful for anyone with dreams of military glory. It's the kind of realistic appraisal we used to  get from Gwynne Dyer until the irving press decided it was dangerous to encourage readers to think.

I would just add that technological, economic, and numerical superiority have not been winning assets for the U.S. in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. And the American people have demonstrated a lack of enthusiasm for war over the past half-century. Of course. They've been the invaders, not the invadees. It's hard to think of killing people thousands of miles away as doing something to protect your home.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44705.htm
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Friday, May 20, 2016

May 20: Slim pickings in the news today

Despite 'tough' government regulations, oil spills on a grand scale are quite common. And, even with a cleanup, the damge from them lasts for  years.  Amazing how most of our eagle-eyed news media (especially the Irving ones) can miss something like 90,000 gallons of oil on the loose.

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/video/news/90000-gallons-of-oil-spilled-in-the-gulf-of-mexico-last-week-and-no-one-is-talking-about-it/vi-BBtfx6L?ocid=spartandhp

In fairness, though, Irving did catch today's biggest story. A new breakfast restaurant is opening in town.  (Eat your heart out, New York Times). As a blessing, though, we are spared yet another story about the wonderful plans to save Moncton High school.  I mean, it must be a good idea because I have not yet seen a news story or commentary critical of this very smelly proposal. More typical is today's editorial which heaps praise on the project because - get this - it has the support of a questionable polling firm. And, get this, the idea is supported by some imminently business and political leaders.

(The support of such people is precisely what makes me distrust the whole idea.­)

Oh, the editorial writer should also learn the difference between    'imminently' and 'eminently'. And, at that, the final 'ly' creates an awkward suggestion that they haven't made it yet - in politics or in business.

Oh, and I note that one of the imminently eminent (or eminently imminent) backers of the project was a candidate for mayor. What a coincidence!

The editorialst also informs us that moving the library from Main St. will stengthen the downtown core of Monton.

1. Oh? How? The library already is at the downtown core of Monton. So how will moving it strengthen the core?

2. This all began with the events centre to strengthen Main St. When did it become a project to strengthen the whole, downtown core?

3. Does City Council have a definition of downtown core? If so, exactly what is it that should be in the downtown core? And how does that fit in with council's general plan (if it has one) for climate change?

The editorial just makes the scheme smell all the more.

Really,  I've seen no mention that the city has any plan for anything. Or that it has done any consulting about conditions of the future.  What are the changes we are going to see in the environment in the future? Seen any studies? Any suggestions? The present Moncton is laid out rather like a 1950s bungalow suburb. Is this layout going to be feasible in the future?

All I've seen so far is a lot of hype by fast-buck artists.

Then there's a commentary by a speechwriter for Harper. He says that Sophie Trudeau should get an office and a staff because she gets a lot of invitations to speak to or to visit various groups. No   doubt. But I see no reason the Canadian public should pay for that. Obviously, the beneficiary of all this publicity will be the Liberal party. Let it pick up the tab.

(The speechwriter also is quoted as saying that Canada's international image rose tremendously under Harper. Rubbish. It was once high, but has been dropping for a good forty years as we have become simply a US colony.That's most evident in Canada's position - or lack of it - in the UN.)

There's quite a decent commentary on the need for refugees to be accepted in NB because we need them for population growth. That's true, of course.  But there are surely even more compelling reasons why why we should accept them.
I have no idea why Alec Bruce wrote his column.
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There's nothing of any significance in section B. For example,  there's a big story about Shawn Graham and Jean Charest having a discussion about political matters. Who could possible care? And, in Fredericton, there was a demonstration of the (self) righteous against the right-to-die and abortion. Funny how those people didn't demonstrate when the western powers were killing Vietnamese, South American, and Muslim men, women and children  (yes, and babies) by the millions. And nothing while men, women, children - and babies, in Yemen are being starved, bombed, and shot to death by our good friends, the Saudis, with weapons supplied by the U.S. and Canada.

I wonder if they can spell 'hypocrite".

Perhaps the item most worth reading in the paper is "Children should have the right to experience losing' by student columnist Mhairi Agnew on C3. (I'm not sure I agree with her - but, unlike the rest of the paper, it's worth thinking about.
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Here's a sample of the stories that are pouring out of South America, but have never been noticed by the Irving press.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/20/venezuela-breaking-point-food-shortages-protests-maduro

This is happening under a left wing government that for many years was succesful and popular. Brazil has been taken over by a right wing group which is doing similar damage.
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This sort of a story has been going one for  decades. But the irving press never mentions it.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Provokes-Tensions-with-Russia-Venezuela-and-Now-China-20160519-0016.html
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Morley Safer of CBC, who died yesterday, was a damn fine journalist. I can think of no better memorial to him than the story about him that appears below.

https://theintercept.com/2016/05/20/pentagon-official-once-told-morley-safer-that-reporters-who-believe-the-government-are-stupid/
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And here's a reminder of what makes an extremist. It's not a racial drive to be evil. And it can have very little to do with religion. We  (and the Syrian government) have created extremist activists and sympathizers by the million.

https://theintercept.com/2016/05/19/trauma-and-deprivation-lead-syrian-youths-to-extremist-groups-says-new-report/
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I have often spoken harshly of the  international, pharmaceutical drug industry. Here's a reason why.

https://theintercept.com/2016/05/14/leaks-show-senate-aide-threatened-colombia-over-cheap-cancer-drug/
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The news, generally, was pretty slim today. That's partly because there's been little coverage of the biggest issue. There are powerful people in the U.S.  who want a world war. They have not made a secret of it. They put it on the web as Project for the New American Century. Under the guise of uniting the world under one government,  they want to conquer the world for the same reason that Britain wanted to - to put all power into the hands of the dominant figures in  big business.

The United States business class has been building an empire since 1776. They saw their big chance to scoop up the British, French, Dutch and Belgian ampires in 1945. But, with a few exceptions, they failed - and they have largely failed ever since.

The election of George Bush and the wars in Afghanistan and the middle east were foreign policy disasters that have seriously shaken western confidence in U.S. leadership. All of this has continued under Obama, and will continue under Trump or Clinton. But there's a growing urgency to it now. The U.S. is not going to grow any more. It's past fifty years of empire building have met with little success - and the clock is running down.

That's why we're seeing these very dangerous attempts to rattle the sabers at China and Russia. Any one of those rattles could accidentally create a world war. And the military forces of the U.S. have not shown the capacity to win a conventional war even against small states. Any such war would quickly become a nuclear one.

Would any country be stupid enough to do that? Certainly. They've been stupid enough to stockpile nuclear weapons. Anybody stupid enough to stockpile them is stupid enough to use them. And that would set off a war that nobody would win.

Consider Israel as a miniature of this. Israel has some 200 or more nuclear-amed missiles for use as deterrents. Nor doubt they do deter, but... if a war broke out against a sufficient number of arab states, the Israeli military would be at a severe disadvantage. That disadvantage, combined with its small size would force Israel to use its nuclear arsenal early. But....

....the targets would be terribly close to Israel. Any such close and heavy, nuclear bombing would cause massive poisoning and death in Israel.
Some defence!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

May 19: The Death of a News Medium


(I am very late in starting this one because I was feeling unwell, most of the day.  But there is no need to send expensive gifts. Large cheques with a get well soon note on them will be quite adequate.)

The modern, cheap daily newspaper appeared in the late nineteenth century (at a cost of a cent or two). Most of them were never much good because two factors drove them. One factor was they were owned by the wealthy who, from the start used them to put forward what the wealthy wanted put forward. The other factor was to feed the ambitions of the owners. Often, both happened at the same time.

William Randolph Hearst used his newspapers to create a war with Spain. The newspapers lied to do it and, once the war started, the papers sensationalized it by glorifying the war. The American public took it all in. It was an impressive introduction to the power of the press. British publishers did the same with the Boer War. In World War One, the Canadian publisher, Lord Beaverbrook, became so influential (always pressing his own causes), that British politicians of all sides feared he might become prime minister.

Conrad Black's The Post is in the same tradition. It exists only to glorify Conrad Black - whose ego    needs a lot of glorifying - and  to forward his personal interests. His wife, Barbara Amiel, writes the same sort of propaganda for MacLean's. But the glory days seem to be ending.

Many newspapers are in financial trouble. I would like to think it's because people are fed up with their propaganda. But, alas, the truth is that sales are dropping because of the influence of TV - and almost all private TV is as manipulative and lying as newspapers are. Check out Fox News for the worst example.

Meanwhile, the papers are trying to save money by cutting staff, getting news on the cheap and, like the Irving press, printing non-news - such as the opening of a new hot dog stand. The Irving press also saves money by  assigning quite unqualified staff members to write commentaries as part of their jobs. On the same page, it uses freebie propaganda from outfits like AIMS or the Frazer Institute.

But the writing is on the wall. The newspaper is doomed. It could, perhaps, do what TV is weak at - offering analysis of the news. But there is no possibility that private ownership would tolerate honest analysis. No, the days of the newspaper are numbered.

Radio could have been a better medium for news and analysis. The CBC has done it, and quite well. But private stations have always been as bad as the newspapers - made even worse by hopelessly inadequate staffing.

All this occured to me for a strange reason. I was thinking of the Faith page. One thing the private news media have done is to convince us North Americans (and westerners in general) that they are a Christian people and, therefore, morally superior to others. One would think it impossible to do that but, in even more bizarre fashion, fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. are major supporters of Donald Trump - though I have never heard  him express a thought that could be called remotely Christian.

Western Christians have been almost constantly at war with each other and with the rest of the world, have dreadfully slaughtered and abused billions for five centuries. Within the churches, the only prominent Christian I know of to publicly question how we have behaved is Pope Francis. The Faith page might give us a clue  to understanding all this.

The Irving press has been cutting costs. And one obvious place it has been cutting is the Faith page. As well, the page is not only entirely Christian and entirely Protestant, but it is representative of only a very narrow group of Christian faiths.

And what is distinctive about this narrow group is the narrowness of its religious views. Almost all of the sermonettes are concerned with believing in Jesus in order to get saved.  In other words, it advocates a self-serving attitude towards the faith. Believe, and get a spot in heaven. Don't believe, and burn, burn, burn. That is one hell of a narrow and self-serving message.

But so far as I can tell from The Bible, Jesus was neither narrow nor self-serving. So why is Pope Francis the only one saying that we should be helping people instead of killing them? What does sending troops to Syria have to do with faith? What does winking when billionaires put their money into tax havens have to do with Christianity? George Bush Jr. lied to kill over million people in Iraq. He's also a devout believer in Jesus. Does that mean that George Bush will go to heaven - while a charitable Muslim or Buddhist won't?

Though I have often led services in the past, I  haven't been inside a church for some years.  Nor will I be until the churches become Christian. We live in a Christian world distinguished for its greed, abuse, mass murder, torture. I don't think Jesus would have allowed that to pass without comment.
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The only item really worth reading in the Irving press is a commentary by Karen Palmer "Why U.S. Doctors Want Canadian-Style Medicare: It's a Lot Cheaper".
Medical care in the U.S. is controlled by stunningly greedy drug companies, greedy private hospitals that have been known to charge a million dollars for a birth, and with very expensive insurance companies. As a result, millions of Americans live shorter and more miserably lives because they can't afford medical care. Even Obamacare is little help because much of it is based on handing out taxpayer's money to corrupt and greedy insurance companies. (Too bad Jesus never charged for miracle cures.)

Privatization of health care causes unnecessary suffering and death. There's no doubt about that.  And Obama care does little about that because it is so expensive for taxpayers to subidize a very greedy and corrupt health care system.
But have your ever seen a staff writer at the Irving press write a commentary on the success of our medicare system?  Or on the rising cost as the wealthy muscle their way into getting a piece of the action? It's under attack - by the same kind of people who don't worry about the tax cost because they don't pay any.
A reminder to the Faith page - Medicare was brought to us by a Baptist clergyman, Tommy Douglas. That's not a coincidence. Wake up, all you Christians. The game is not just about getting yourself into heaven. And if you think it is, you might not make the cut.

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Here's an interesting story. How would  the U.S. react if China kept a fleet just outside American waters on the pacific coast, and flew suveillance aircraft there? The U.S. has over a thousand military bases around the world, many close to China. How many military bases does China have around the world?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/19/china-demands-us-military-stop-spying-south-china-sea
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And here's an interesting opinion.  Thanks to our news media, there's very little understanding that the wealthy of the U.S. are looking for world conquest. And they are prepared to risk all of us to make that happen.

As well, their political puppets have been stunningly incompetent in carrying out this policy.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/19/michael-moore-where-to-invade-next-world-hope

Interestingly, The Guardian frequently has news stories about the Trudeaus. But they, so far, are not about accomplishments. They're rather more at the gossip mag level.
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Henry Kissinger was far the most murderous advisor to U.S. presidents. His advice killed innocent people by the millions. So guess who is asking him for advice on foreign policy. Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton is also an admirer of Kissinger. Bernie Sanders is not.
That alone would decide my vote if I had one.

What's really frightening is that Trump has no idea whatever of foreign policy. Indeed, that's why he's turned to Kissinger. Trump, quite simply, is ignorant of basic principles of foreign policy. His presidency would be a happy hunting ground for those bent on  world conquest no matter what the damage and the risk. Of course, that puts him on the same side as Hillary Clinton.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44696.htm
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Here's an item our press has mentioned, but only at a gossip mag level. Karl Nerenberg adds some depth to that.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2016/05/trudeaus-actions-contradict-his-pledge-to-respect-parliament#.Vz3iHPCMt5w.gmail
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I think  the article below underestimates the power of money in election. It's true that money alone can't buy an election. You also have to consider factors like news media myths that nations have about themselves....  But it's also true that people without big money seldom win elections

http://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/down-the-tube/

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

May 18: Oh, what a tangled web we weave...


Moncton High School, a particularly impressive building of stone, was closed because, it was said, it required repairs that were too expensive to justify the cost. By coincidence, a new site was available  (on a housing developer's land), though at a considerable distance from the old school.

After the new school opened, annus mirabilis, it was discovered that the old one could be  repaired after all. And it would be the ideal place for a new library  - replacing the one on Main St. - the same Main St. that we trying to revive with a hundred million dollar 'events centre'.

Why move the library? That's not clear. The library thinks the present location is fine. The major advocates for the move are Corporate Research Associates and MH Renaissance. And who are they?

The story doesn't tell us.

But Corporate Research Associates is a business that conducts polls to serve paying clients. Who paid for this one? The Irving press doesn't tell us. Did the pollsters just do it out of a sense of public service? Was there a paying client? Does that paying client have a financial interest in the old high school? We are told that 397 people were polled. We are not told how they were chosen. Nor are we told precisely what the questions were.  (The wording of a question can make a big difference.)

All of this is followed by a bafflegab of numbers.

Then there's the MH Renassance group, volunteer 'developers' we are told - with a strong hint they are an association of fairy godfathers. And they are going to hold 'public information' meetings. Isn't that thoughtful of them? Let democracy rule!

There's even an artist's rendering of the preserved building which is actually a retouched and remarkably ugly photo in which the school is largely hidden. The idea, we are told is to preserve the architectural splendor of this building.  Here's a better picture. You'll note how the school is hidden behind a drab and boring 1950s street-corner shop facade.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/moncton-public-library-high-school-1.3587414

This whole deal smells. But the reporters of the Irving press, as usual, aren't doing any sniffing. That's not the fault of  the reporters. The editors are the ones who are supposed to make sure  that reporters ask the tough questions. But the editors know damn well that they're working for a propaganda sheet - And if they want to keep working they had better publish all  the lies they're told to publish.
The other big news in section A is that McDonald's  will have McLobster on its menu again.

Wow!__________________________________________________________________
The editorial is on one of the burning issues of the day. Are campground owners being overtaxed?

Norbert is back to rantinig that private ownership is good. Public ownership is bad. Damn right. Let's privatize the armed forces, schools, medical care, public works, washrooms....

Brian Cormier's "commentary" is yet another 'feel good' story of little substance. Alec Bruce supports the idea of a New Brunswick senator that all senators should work together, regardless of party lines. That might be a good idea but....senators are appointed in the first place because they are political hacks. Original thinking   (or thinking of any sort ) is rare in the Senate. Get used to it. They aren't going to change.  And, more to the point, I've seen little evidence that most of them have any brains to work on anything.

Then there's a superb   guest commentary  by a businessman on the topic, believe it or not, "Why Canada should stop 'investing' in corporate bailouts, subsidies". (I don't know how that one sneaked in.)

Canada and World is mostly New Brunswick and a bit of Canada. Of a world on the edge of world war three, of South America close to very serious violence that could spread across the continent , of the U.S. facing the most bizarre presidential election ever, of world record numbers of refugees, of these and many more, real issues. There is nothing.

There is a story on the firing of Dr. Cleary as the province's chief medical officer. It's about a Council of Canadians' appeal of that firing. But this is an Irving press report - so it ignores all the important parts, the ones that hint at an Irving involvement in the firing. So here's the real report.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/154befaef67cda99?projector=1

The newspaper had the full account. It chose not to give it. That's called lying.
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Here are several stories about the dark hole that much of South America is sliding into. It also has another story the Irving press missed - the behaviour of Canada's border guards in arbitrarily imprisoning people for no given reason. (One was a sixteen year old boy who went straight into solitary.)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/americas
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Al Jazeera America is closing down. The site below is its farewell with samples of its reporting - mostly on the U.S.

Al Jazeera has its faults. But it's far superior to any private news source in the Americas. It was modelled on what the CBC was supposed to be - before Harper crippled it.

http://america.aljazeera.com/
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There may be no industry on earth with such a record of brutality and exploitation as the clothing industry. In North America, it enforced long hours, low pay, working conditions so dangerous that hundreds died. Employees were commonly locked into their work places - with no hope of escaping a fire. These  conditions persisted in Canada and the U.S. at least into the 1940s.

But free trade opened the world  of our clothing giants with nations that permitted even worse brutality and lower wages. Here's a story about all the cheap clothing we see in Walmart and in some of our supermarkets.

http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/08/rana-plaza/
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Here's a story you'll never see in the Irving press. It's just one small incident of what is daily life in South American countries with dictatorships backed by the U.S. for the benefit of American and Canadian capitalists of the very best families. There's a reason why Cubans kicked out the dictator imposed on them by the U.S. It wasn't just because Cuba had suddenly become evil.

http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/2016/2/in-guatemala-military-stands-trial-for-sexual-slavery.html
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And here's something from Ralph Nader on the state of democracy.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ralph-nader/copps-plea-for-you-and-me_b_9962164.html?utm_source=Alert-blogger&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Email%2BNotifications
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Ralph Nader is always worth a read. So here's another one. We should have a clear idea of why millions ae being killed, tens of millions driven into lives of misery - and with millions more to be added. There's a reason why the U.S. can afford trillions for killing, but cannot feed its hungry or adquately fund its schools. This isn't happening because ISIS Is evil. ISIS certainly is evil - but that's a result, not a cause. This is happening because the very wealthy want to conquer the world so they can get even wealthier. That greed is as bad as (or worse than) any of the Barbarian hordes of history.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ralph-nader/breaking-through-power-jo_b_10023740.html?utm_source=Alert-blogger&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Email%2BNotifications

Right now, at least 80 million people are homeless; millions have been killed; millions of children have been cut off from any chance of education; millions have no food. And all of this is being done to boost corporate profits.

And most of our news media gives us a steady diet of news that this is all the fault of the dead and the starving and the uneducated. We just want to bring democracy to them.  However, the pope recently made a statement that we are wrong to think we can impose democracy on the world.

Actually, we aren't trying to. Whenever the U.S. sets up a democracy, it's really a dictatorship in disguise. That's what happened in Egypt, in Iraq with its 'democracy' of U.S. puppets. That's what happened all over South America. That's what happens in The Phillipines since the American conquest of over a century ago. That's what happens all over the world with 'democracies' whose news media exist to lie and propagandize for the benefit of the wealthy.

The pope also made another important point. Democracy is NOT the only way a country should be run. It's up to a people to decide what kind of government they want. Often, there are good reasons for not having a dmocracy.  In the middle east, for example, most countries are artificial creations made by the western powers. The same is true in Africa. In such countries, a person's loyalties are to tribe or religious faith or even just to family. You find that also in Afghanistan which was working toward democracy before the Russians and American interfered. Now, the 'democracy' the US imposed on it is hopelessly corrupt, incompetent and divisive. And people have drifted back to the tribes or family groups that were their traditional loyalities lay. We haven't made Afghanistan a democracy. Rather, we've set back the progress it was making. And we've set it back a century.

You cannot 'give' democracy to anybody. A society has to evolve into  it - if it wants to.

In any case, the west has no interest in spreading democracy. That's a  pious myth spread by our politicians and news media. For five hundred years, the west has been conquering countries, destroying their governments - and setting themselves or their puppets up as rulers. Britain and France and Spain and Portugal never brought democracy to anybody. And anybody who tried to set up a democracy in, say, South America, was either invaded or assassinated by the U.S.

Spread democracy? We, in the west, will be lucky if it even survives here.
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There's lots of other news. Lyme disease is spreading to Canada - a result of climate change. It seems also to be spreading to Europe, and for the same reason.    
This is a time - in fact it is past time - we should be seriously discussing how climate change is going to affect us at every level, and planning what we should do. But there is no discussion, no planning. All we're getting are international conferences to set goals we don't reach.

It's not just a matter of switching to renewable resources. We have to make fundamental changes to our everyday lives. Yes, I know that's difficult. I also know the only other option is to be dead.

But we aren't getting that basic discussion. We aren't getting leadership or even basic information from most of our news media. What we are getting is very casual action from our governments.

Of course. The fossil fuel industries that own our 'democratic' governments can't see beyond their own profits and their grotesquely inflated salaries.                    

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 7:whales and us....

Let's start with the column by student editor Jana Giles. She complains our schools have dropped their advanced courses in order to make the schools more inclusive - a  buzzword that means all students learn the same things. Now, I'm not familiar with our education programmes today. But, if she's right, dropping advanced programmes is a very bad idea.

From grade nine on, I was in the advanced stream, the so-called A classes. All of the classes were streamed in that way. And classes lower on the scale were smaller so that teachers could give more attention to students who needed it.
In education, one size does not fit all. Now, I blew it all because I frequently skipped school. I failed grade ten, repeated it, and was failing grade 11 when I was kicked out to find a job in a mail room at Bell Telephone.  But those school years were not wasted; they opened a whole world to me - one that would eventually get me out of the mail room.

As a kid, I read nothing but cowboy novels. And in my district, that was pretty intellectual stuff. In the A stream, my eyes were opened up to George Bernard Shaw, Sean O'Casey, Oscar Wilde - to debate, to public speaking, to poetry. To put every child through the same programme is as absurd as insisting all must play on the school hockey, football and basketball teams - and take welding.
A standard prograemme today would leave me still reading cowboy novels. Meanwhile, the kids I had grown up with were still illiterate or semi-literate. There was no possibility they would have been interested in or learned anything from George Bernard Shaw. What they needed was teaching in basic skills with lots of attention from good teachers. The same size does no fit all.
This is an interesting column.
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Then there's the sensationalism of the front page. A mother cried when a witness testified about the murder of her son. Of course, she did. But this tells us nothing about the case. It simply exploits a woman's anguish. Then we are told that deputy sherriffs watched the people in the court. Does this tell anybody anything useful? This is a story that has nothing to say - so it feeds on sensationalism.
The director of the Multicultual Association of Greater Moncton has been fired. Why? Nobody says and, seemingly, nobody asked. So what's the point of the story?

There's half a page on how the speaker at Mount A's graduation urged students to follow lifelong learning. How original!

It's the usual section A news.
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The editorial is a dreadfully disorganized reference to an education report from the holy book of AIMS. It mixes this up with a reference to Frank McKenna as a great thinker on education issues - though the meaning and justification of that is, to say the least, vague.

It ends with a suggestion I can agree with - that students need more training in such things as thinking BEFORE they turn to their computers. However, my long experience in education is that parents, business leaders, and editorialists would raise hell over any prograemme that taught students how to think. To them, 'thinking' means thinking the way they do - which usually means not thinking at all.

Norbert has fallen back into the pit of ranting. He begins with a wild attack on patriotism and nationalism. (Norbert, please don't use the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Oxford is better.)

Now, I can agree with most of this attack on patriotism and nationalism. But Norbert himself doesn't agree with it. (If he does, I look forward to his next column on November 11.)

And Canadian cinema is notoriously awful? Obviously, Norbert  has never heard of the many prizes it has won.  In fact, there are few countries the size of Canada who come even close to the quality of our productions. As well, Norbert should know that much of our cinema is not intended for the theatre audience. It's largely intended for Canadians who want to know more about Canada - but cannot get it from Hollywood (obviously) or from private TV. Obviously, Norbert has never heard of 'Neighbours', 'Canada at War', 'Show Girls', 'Notman's Montreal'....

In the same way, CBC runs programmes about Canada - not out of 'rabid nationalism' - save that kind of babbling for coverage of the Grey Cup. The CBC runs programmes about Canada (and the world) because private radio and TV - and the Irving press tell us so little about ourselves.

As for the arts world being rabidly nationalist - bullshit. I doubt whether Norbert even knows anybody in the arts world. Because of the lack of work in Canada, most of the top arts people I have known - or have known of - are so unnationalist they have moved to the U.S. or Britain. The exceptions are top painters - though I have never known a painter who was a rabid Canadian nationalist, either. They stay here because there's a world market for Canadian paintings.

And premier Gallant is being a rabid nationalist when he tries to convince investors to come to New Brunswick?  Do you think we elected him to advise investors to go to Venezuela?

Far from being rabid nationalists, most Canadians know very little about Canada.

Norbert, I really think you should take it easy on the cough syrup.

The Commentary page is pretty solid. And I'll add a footnote for Louise Gilbert's column. Ms. Gilbert has many times advised walking as a good exercise. I have recently discovered how right she is. On a visit to Montreal, I had to walk a good deal, and was dismayed to learn how hard it had become. On my return, I discovered a wonderful trail here in Moncton  You cross Main St. and the railway tracks at  Milner - and you're on a quite wonderful trail that runs over highland and through marsh.  An hour passed in no time. And the effects of that simple exercise were immediate.
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In the the the greater world of the Canada &World sections, one of the great issues this country and the world still faces in the right to import Quebec beer into New Brunswick without paying a tax.

B3 has a bizarre list of policies to be discussed at a federal Conservative convention.  One deals with a  basic issue we must face. Should the law replace the term 'greenhouse gas emissions' with the word 'smog'? It will also debate whether it should formally state that there is no equivalent profession to that of service in the Canadian Armed Forces.  (No. I have no idea what that means in any practical sense.)

Another gem dealing with a fundamental issue of Canadian life is that the right of Canadians to own firearms is a "canadian heritage". Damn right. It's also a Canadian heritage to steal native lands and to starve native peoples to death. Another part of our heritage is keeping slaves, marginalizing blacks, using Chinese for building dangerous parts of the CPR, denying Jews entry to Canada before, during and after World War Two.... Hey! Bring back the good, old days.
Anyone who reads this story and stays a Conservative is beneath contempt.
There's a story about civic unrest in Afghanistan. What it doesn't tell us is that the U.S. has fought a trillion dollar war with Afghanistan in order to install a fake democracy that is stunningly corrupt and incompetent. It also has played a major role in encouraging the industry in which Afghanistan now leads the world - the export of opium.

There is no story on what the U.S. and the Saudis are doing in Yemen, nothing on American provocations against Russia in the Baltic and along the Russian border, nothing on the severe riots in Venezuela, still nothing of signficance on what is really a coup in Brazil, nothing on the British opening up a new war in Libya....
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The Irving press has also not noticed that the Alberta wildfire is spreading onto the oilsands. Won't that be fun? This is what climate change means. Any thoughts from our governments - from federal down to city councils - on what this means?

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/money/topstories/albertas-vicious-wildfires-spread-to-suncor-oil-sands-site/ar-BBsL63w
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And here's real news commentary from that terrible CBC. It's about a very dangerous situation of which the Irving press has said nothing.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/nato-putin-military-buildup-1.3581371
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And here's Venezuela which wasn't important enough for the Irving press - though it did have room for that big story on importing Quebec beer to New Brunswick.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2016/may/17/blackouts-looting-and-venezuelas-state-of-emergency-video-explainer
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I remember, so many years ago, watching president Eisenhower as he warned the U.S. about the military/industrial complex in that country. It caused chatter - but no other reaction. But Eisenhower was right. The American economy as well as its foreign policy are now run by the U.S. military and the defence industries. War is good - for them.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44677.htm
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Now, here's an interesting story. And it's a real test of what people are prepared to believe.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44678.htm
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And here's a story that wasn't important enough to make the Irving press. It needed the space for a big story about Iran cracking down on models who don't wear headscarves.

http://mashable.com/2016/05/14/earth-warmest-april/#d6fVHe_ztuqy

This is a paper with no sense whatever of what is important in the news.
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This one is really an old story - but I've never seen it make the news. For many years,navies have routinely killed sea creatures, especially whales, in training for torpedoes, drones, dive bombers, and other forms of naval warfare. The targets are sometimes wounded, but more typically, they are killed in millions. The Canadian navy, too, has commonly used whales as target practice for guns, bombs, torpedoes and depth charges.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36037-the-us-navy-s-mass-destruction-of-marine-life

A good book on this is Farley Mowat, "A Whale for the killing". He tells of the citizens of St. Pierre (of St. Pierre and Miquelon) who, one day, saw 23 whales in their harbour. They turned out for two days of frenzied killing with guns, spears, knives and rocks to kill them all in two, wildly hilarious days of killing and a night of drunken partying. It was fun.

There was no market for the whales. So the bodies were just towed out to sea.
Whalers from Canada and all over the world slaughtered whales almost to extinction - and still do. There are few rules; and the whalers ignore even the few. By the 1930s, 80,000 great whales were killed every year. The population of whales of all sorts dropped from tens of millions to the low thousands. And it still goes on.

Some days ago, I wrote that big business does not think of the long term, only of what can be taken now. In fairness, almost all of us are like that. It's very human to think only of what we want - and only of what we want right now. The special danger posed by big business is that it has power as well as greed to drive it. That's why so many tens of millions died in the slave trade from Africa. That's why Congo and South America have been so destroyed by mining, and their people reduced to less than poverty, and their environment so poisoned. That's why we keep burning fossil fuels, though even the dullest must know by now that this will kill us.

This sort of murderous stupidity and greed is, I'm afraid, part of being human.  There is a limit to how much we can change our human failings. However, we can limit, even reverse, the damage done  by those relatively few people who have the power to destroy everything. The massive destruction we are watching is  happening because of the power of the very wealthy.

We can break that power.

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016: SPCA Finds Homes for Dogs.


That is the lead story for today's Irving press. Who woulda guessed that's what the SPCA does?

And - a vegetarian restaurant is opening in Moncton.

And - a soldier at Gagetown is training to be a diving engineer (one who works under water.)  This is the news YOU need to know.

I note, too, that fully half the news stories in section A are by one reporter. And some of the regular reporters' names have disappeared. Has the Irving press been shedding reporters just as it recently shedded photographers?__________________________________________

The commentary page is made up of three columnists, all writing on othe same topic - the municipal elections.  All three criticize the low voter turnout in essentially moral terms. But voter morality has nothing to do with it. A major cause of low turnout is the Irving press.

The job of a newspaper is to keep us informed about municipal (and school district) issues. But how many articles and commentaries have you seen in the Irving press about these? What are the major issues facing these bodies? Is there any interference in this by interest groups? What are the challenges Moncton has to deal with? The only issues I have seen covered by the Irving press are economic ones - and they are always on the side of some interest group. Of course, people don't vote. How can they vote when they have no information?
One of the writers suggested the candidates are lazy, and should be going door to door to stir up interest. Come off it. Any candidate who did such a thing could not  possibly cover a major part of his/her riding. Nor are all people pleased to have strangers knocking at the door. Nor do I see any use to this when we don't have the basic information and discussion we should be seeing in the newspaper.
And - the Irving press made no effort whatever to tell us what the candidates stood for. All we got for each was a name, a photo, and something gushy.

The voter turnout was low because people in this province are deliberately starved of information, and discouraged from thinking.

The class act, once again, in commentary is Norbert Cunningham. This is a thoughtful column on First Nations. It doesn't have any easy answers. And that's honest because there aren't any. I certainly agree that First Nations should have sovereign powers over their own lands. That will certainly pose problems for the rest of us. But it has to be done.

 However - there is another and possibly more difficult problem.   How will native societies be different from ours? Neither native people nor the rest of us can restore a native culture. In the first place, there were a large number and variety of native cultures. In the second place, the world those cultures were adapted to no longer exists. It's easy to destroy a culture. We've done it all over the world. But I know of no-one who has ever been able to restore a culture.
Good cartoon by de Adder.
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Canada and World section is a joke. The big news about Fort McMurray is that some residents are returning to get their cars. The other story is that that government is keeping in touch with people who escaped the fire by using the telephone. When are we going to get the important story? The fire happened because of record high temperatures coupled with a drought. That is what is called climate change.

When do we start discussing this and what it mean to all of us? What can we expect? How can we prepare?

World news is more piddling than ever. Police in Manchester, England, evacuated a stadium because they found a bomb in it. But the bomb was a fake. So there really is no story. We are dreadfully close to World War Three. We read nothing about that.  But we get a big story about something that didn't really happen.

In the Baltic Sea region, the U.S. has been stepping up its presence. That's rather like the Russians sending their fleet to check out the Caribbean. And the U.S. army is moving more troops up to the Russian border in that region, and establishing missile sites. The story is that they aren't meant to fire missiles at Russia. They're to defend against an attack from Iran on Europe.

Damn right.  Them Eye-ranians is always attacking innocent couintries like Poland. So let's forget the nonsense that all of this is about  the U.S. looking for a war with Russia. The U.S. would never attack another country.

Nor is there a word about the war in Yemen, and what it is all about.  Could we get a hint? After all, Canada is supplying Saudi Arabia with some of its weapons for this war. Why did the Canadian government partipate by allowing the sale of armoured cars to the Saudis? Is it possible this indicates a desire for Canada  to get involved in the quagmire that the U.S. has created in that region?

There's also a story about  how an ISIS attack killed 29 across Iraq. The story referred to ISIS as terrorists. The US killed over a million across Iraq. I cannot recall a story that called the U.S. extremist. Nor have I seen a story in the Irving press about the Saudis being extremists in Yemen or even in giving financial and training support to ISIS.
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By the end of  his term, Obama will become the first U.S. president to spend his full presidency at war. Number two, by a small margin, is George W. Bush.   (Actually, it's hard to be sure because most U.S. presidents over the past century and more have fought many, unreported wars - particularly in Latin America. As well, presidents since 1945 have fought many secret wars marked by assassinations, and usually against small countries.)

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/15/us/politics/obama-as-wartime-president-has-wrestled-with-protecting-nation-and-troops.html?_r=0
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This one is long, and will certainly provoke disagreement. But it's worth a look.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44663.htm
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This is a site worth exploriing at your leisure. I think I can guarantee that not one of the stories in this has ever appeared in the Irving press. There really is a lot of world our there. And a lot of news. And it affects all of us, even here in New Brunswick.

http://www.democracynow.org/
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And here is an article of remarkable common sense by a remarkably qualified observer. I would just add one point he hints at but doesn't explain. He speaks of how government departments - like defence - will  create situations that divert budget money to their departments. It's not just government departments that do that. Really, it's quite a human action.We almost all do things to benefit ourselves
The military will create or exaggerate threats then ask for money to fight them. The defence industry is a close partner in this. The drug industry  will promote foreign aid - so it can induce the government to send overpriced drugs to needy countries. Need, of course, has nothing to do with their promotion. It's the profit the companies can make for themselves.

War is profitable to a wide range of  billionaires who make big money out of war. And sometimes, that greed is what creates the war. It's short-sighted, of course. But big business thinks only three months into the future.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44674.htm
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Thirty million children - refugees - are at risk of losing even the most basic education. A group is now raising $4 billion to educate them. That happens to be the current price of a new destroyer for the U.S. navy.  Nobody knows what the U.S. has spent on recent wars - only that it's several trillions of dollars
Meanwhile, American children are losing their chance at education as  budgets are cut to build more weapons. Millions of Americans go hungry, and have been cut off food aid.  In all the rush to war, only the rich have become richer, much richer. That's the mark of a collapsing empire - and the whole world has to suffer for that collapse.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/may/16/education-30-million-children-have-lost-their-homes-syria-new-fund

And Canada is a colony that is expected to do its share in making the wealthy of the empire even wealthier. That's why we had troops in Afghanistan, aircraft in Libya, Iraq and Syria, and now troops going to Syria.
This is all insane.
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And here is some bedtime reading that the Irving press should have provided for Moncton.

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/may/16/fort-mcmurray-alberta-canada-worlds-most-fire-prone-cities

Note the mention of wooden cities. Then look around Moncton.
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I can make only a general comment on the next item because it is going to cover a lot of ground. It's a  lengthy copy of government documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

https://theintercept.com/2016/05/16/the-intercept-is-broadening-access-to-the-snowden-archive-heres-why/
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This next one should not be a surprise.

http://www.alternet.org/world/retired-cia-agent-us-assisted-capture-nelson-mandela
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There's so much more Canada&World news that never makes it into the Irving press...

....The U.S. backed (and supplied munitions for) Saudi Arabia's invasion of Yemen. Now, it's such a mess, that Obama has begun sending U.S. troops to save the situation for Saudi Arabia.The U.S. is getting dragged deeper into othe swamp that George Bush created. Syrian children overwhelmingly see the U.S. as their enemy.---- Well, the whole Muslim world sees that. Beginning with the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. has made itself hated throughout the Muslim world, even among that majority that hates ISIS. Starting with Iraq, the U.S. has destabilized the whole region - as well as killing a couple of million people and creating  60,000,000 refugees.

Europe, no stranger to reckless and greedy policies itself, is so  alarmed enough at where the U.S. is taking it that many want the European Union to become the European Nation which will be strong enough to opt out of U.S. policy.
Meanwhile, watch for rising violence in South America as the U.S. is destabilizing it just as it has most of the middle east. But so far, the Irving press has ignored all this.

The U.S. is a nation which is approaching dangerous instablility itself  with a leadership race that demonstrates the mindlessness of the two most likely leaders in the race, and an equally mindless anger on the part of those who support them. And behind it all is the control of a capitalist class which thinks only of itself and its own wealth.

It is all controlled by dangerous fools and killers - if a very high class of dangerous fools and killers.

There is no escaping this. We in Canada are in a most dangerous position living beside the most dangerous nation. And if we don't make a decision, then it will be made for us by our own high class dangerous fools.