Friday, December 16, 2011

Dec. 16: Extra. extra. read all about it...

In most newspapers, the front page carries the biggest news of the day. This, after all, is the big draw for potential buyers - a screaming headline that announces a matter of great importance and interest. Now, I would have thought the news of two more incidents of shale gas fracking beiing carried out (illegally) without local permission would qualify as pretty big news to a province that is sharply divided over the issue of shale gas.

But, no. Today's front page did have one attention-grabbing story - the acquittal of the Tingleys. That's really not big enough to make newspaper buyers reach for their wallets; but it's the biggest item on p. 1.

The others are 'a merry Christmas really is possible', firefighters plan for river emergencies, the children at a daycare centre are giving toys to poor kids for Christmas..... Wow! Where's my wallet?

And the story on shale gas companies breaking the law? Well, it had to appear. After all, it was a public statement by resource minister Northrup. But it's way back on p. C3, perhaps so as to prevent people from getting over excited.

No need to worry, though. The minister says that the breaking of the law was unintentional - a decision he must have come to in about five minutes. Maybe he's right, though. Corporation executives who put hundreds of millions of dollars in projects - and who did it without knowing the the law is - must be an extraordinarily bone-headed lot. Not the sort of people one wants running wild through the neighbourhood.

Reuters provides us with another story on the official end of the Iraq war. It's pretty much the same as their story of yesterday, and just as uninformative. If you read other papers, like The Guardian for Dec. 15,the picture is more disturbing.

For example, the President and the Premier of Iraq declined to attend the farewell ceremony. To make their absence less obvious and less embarassing, soldiers were placed in the seats that had been reserved for the Iraq government.

Papers all over the world, includinig Canada, are calling the whole Iraq war one of the great blunders of history. At a cost of a trillion dollars which, according to yesterday's Wall Street Journal, will become 4 trillion by the time the last veteran dies), and at the cost of well over a million lives and the destruction of the infrastrucure of Iraq, the US leaves behind it only hatred and suffering and poverty and instability in an already dangerously unstable part of the world.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the US census now reports that 48% of all American are now classed as poor, and predictions are the number will rise sharply as Congress cuts unemployment and food stamp programmes  so it can free up money to buy more weapons and to keep taxes low for the rich. The argument is that cutting aid will encourage people to look for work. What work? Taking in each other's washing?

The big news all over the world - but not even mentioned in the TandT - is that Obama will sign a bill which makes the US itself officially a battle zone in the "war against terror". Under the bill, the US army is given the right to kidnap American citizens even on American soil (as well as any nation's citizens anywhere in the world), and to detain them indefinitely in military prisons (which, I have heard, use torture quite freely) with no charge, no lawyer, no trial, no evidence.

The definition in the bill is that it applies to anybody who might be suspected of any form of connection or sympathy with any terrorist group. There is no definition of what a terrorist group is. In effect, this means the army can kidnap anybody it wants to. You think Israel is not trying hard enough to read a peace deal with Palestine? You're a terrorist sympathizer. You're opposed to drilling for shale gas? A project vital to the defence of the US? You're a terrorist sympathizer.

This cancels not only the American constitution, but centuries of the development of human rights.

This act places the US under martial law - just like a conquered country taken over by a foreign army. It is a revolution which reverses the American Revolution of George Washington. It makes the US a police state in the tradition of Stalin's USSR. This is no overstatement. This is what has happened.

What does this have to do with you?
1. It gives the US army authority to kidnap you. Don't worry about the reason. They don't need one.
2. Remember the immigration and border agreement recently signed by Obama and Harper? This makes it easier for US police to pick you up for indefinite imprisonment with no right to trial. It also means Harper will be under pressure to pass a similar law empowering out own armed forces.

The is the story of the century. And just about every newspaper in the world is treating it as such. But not Brunswickmedia. They haven't mentioned it. Their big story is "A merry Christmas really is possible."

Sorry to spend so much time on what isn't in The Moncton Times and Transcript. The problem is that there's nothing it it. That's the purpose of the Irving press.  Keep 'em dumb. Keep 'em trivial.

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