Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dec. 3: A mixed bag...

The ftont page carries its usual free ad for the casino - disguised as a news story. Otherwise, section A carries its usual load of trivia ---except---

On p. 2, there is an important story, and one I would not expect to find in the TandT. It's easily missed because its print size and style are different from those of most stories. It looks, in fact, like one of those "clarifications" that nobody reads. But the story is important.

Wikileaks has announced it will release documents showing that 125 companies around the world - including three Canadian ones - are helping governments to spy on citizens through monitoring their phone calls, e-mail, and web browser history.

That's no small deal. Such spying without a warrant is against the law. And for good reason because it means goodbye democracy; hello police state. It also raises interesting questions about who is paying these companies for their service.

This should be a front page lead, not a dinky note hidden on p. 2.  Will the TandT be saying anything about what this means? Will it assign reporters to get opinion from legal experts? Will it follow up on the story?

I doubt it. I mean, it hasn't mentioned the case of one of the contributors to Wikileaks who has been well over a year in solitary confinement in an American military prison (without trial), and has been subjected to daily torture such as sleep deprivation. UN human rights inspectors have been denied permission to see him. So who cares if we're being spied on?

Three important stories in NewsToday.
1. The disaster of our new, F-35 fighterbomber continues. More problems in its design have been found. Originally, the cost was to have been 9 billion, and that is the fiture given in the Postmedia story. In fact, the price is already some four times that - and this latest problem will drive it much higher.

As the story says, the US and Canada will not back out of the project because so much money has already been spent on it that withdrawal would be politically embarassing. Gee. We     certainly wouldn't want to embarass anybody.

2. Harper and Obama will meet to discuss security issues. People concerned about civil rights are worried about this one. We have already erased the Canada-US border so that armed police and other law agents from the US can operate freely in Canada. In effect, that means that in law enforcement terms, a separate Canada no longer exists.

This meeting will take it even further to bring us into line with American practices. (Hint - a US president now has power to imjprison and even assassinate with no legal process. Over a million Americans are on a "no fly list"  - without any legal process, without even a reason.) Watch for a 'no-fly list on Canada. And don't kid yourself that you would never be put on such a list.

Why is Harper doing this? Does it benefit you and me in any way? Not likely. But it does represent the coporations in the Canadian Council of CEOs who want a more open US Canada border for their goods. And if we all surrender control of our own country to do that - so be it. After all, so far as corporations are concerned, what globalism means is that we no longer have governments - or democracy. That's so that corporations can do what they like.

3. Are you on a low sodium diet? Harper is pretty much killing our ability to check the accuracy of the labelling on foods in the stores.

Well, gotta save money to pay for those F-35s and all that illegal spying on Canadian citizens.

On D3, Reuters has its usual uninformative story about Pakistan. Here are the real elements of it -
1. The US has been invading Pakistan air and land space for at least a couple of years to hunt down Taliban. In the process, it has killed large numbers of Pakistani civilians and soldiers.
2. Recently, US helicopters attacked a Pakistan military base on the border, within Pakistan territory. Pakistan says it frantically radioed US commanders to stop the attack. But it went on for almost two hours, killing a large number of Pakistan soldiers. The US has refused even to apologize.
3.The democratically elected president of Pakistan was killed by army leaders who took over the government.
4. The US iimmediately announced its support of the military government - and has been paying it off ever since. Thus the ability of US forces to get away with so much espionage and killing in Pakistan.
5. Pakistan is the only Moslem country to have a nuclear arsenal.
6. China cannot possibly allow the US to get control of Pakistan.
7. China has a nuclear arsenal.

Now, connect the dots.

On D 4, a favourable story about shale gas. What a surprise! A professor thinks it's a good idea. The professor is employed at University of Calgary School of Business, and academic director for petroleum land management.
Wow! Isn't Calgary in Alberta where all that oil is? Don't big businesses normally fund schools of business?
How about connecting those dots?

On D5, in a long list of school announcements, Disctrict Two director Karen Branscombe has, for the second year in a row, been named by The Women's Executive Network as one of Canada's Most Powerful Women.

That must be a mistake. Last year, when she won the same award, the editorial writer said she was gallivanting around picking up awards instead of doing her job. This year, no editorial.

Now, if Mr. Irving gave a starving child in Somalia a bag of peanuts, we'd have a big picture of him shaking hands with somebody - and a headline saying Philanthrophist feeds the starving. You know, the kind of photo story we see almost every day in the TandT.

What ms. Branscombe has accomplished deserves more than two sentences on a back page.

The editorial is on sewers, again. (It's one of those topics that loses its charm quickly.)

Bill Belliveau's column is bang on about how Harper is destroying Canada. Too bad he never writes similar ones about the Liberals.

I am disturbed by the rampant socialism in Norbert's column. He wants to see TV dramas without ads. This is precisely the sort of attitude that destroys the creativity of the capitalism that God gave us. The purpose of TV (and newspapers)  is to sell ads. The purpose of the drama is to get people to watch the ads.

Sheesh. Next thing thing you know, this closet Marxist/Occupy Moncton/hippie will be praising the CBC.

Good column, and an amusing one, by Brent Mazerolle.

And it wraps up with a very clear explanation from Gwynn Dyer on what is happening at the climate change conference in Durban. What's happening is that we our abandoning our children to a self-destructing world. And Canada is leading the way. And we're doing it to protect the profits and high executive salaries and perks of the corporate world.

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