Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11: Something good....

Today's editorial is good. It's well-written. It's logical. There's no rant in it. This is what an editorial should look like. The subject is the great plan to allow parking on Main St. The editorial writer is calling this a "half-baked plan". I think he or she is right. But that's not the point.

The point is that, agree or disagree with it, this is a clearly written, well-explained opinion. There's no rant, no name-calling. This is what we should be seeing every day.

Then to Norbert Cunningham. And he's just as good. This is a well-written and well-reasoned column. The language is calm, but firm. There is no use of prejudicial language or insinuation. Good stuff.

(A reader suggested to me I should have said that Norbert's column of yesterday was well-written. It was. But I didn't mention it one way or the other becaue it was about the "god particle"; and my understanding of physics is close to zero. I should have said it was well-written - but then just admitted that my ignorance of the subject permitted me to go no further.)

Contrast the editorial and Norbert to the rest of the editorial and op ed pages.

We get a For The Record column written by a hack (senior fellow) for a propaganda outfit called The Fraser Institute that is financed by big business, and wants to privatize everything. It's a clone of Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. It argues that more private airlines competing in Canada would drive down prices. So he says, would removing the airport tax.  Oh?

If we remove the airport tax, who will pay to maintain the airports? Me and you. That's who. So how does that put us ahead of the game? All it really does is to subsidize airlines at taxpayers' expense.

Then, note the implication in his column. He says that more competition by private airlines will reduce fares. Oh? Gee. That must mean they are now overcharging us.  And it must mean that if private business gets so big it doesn't have to worry about competition, it will rob us blind. Gosh. Is that true, Mr. Irving?

In fact, we used to be able to control air ticket prices very effectively and even make money out of it when we had a public airline called Air Canada. Thank you for privatizing it, Mr. "suitcase full of money" Mulroney.

Then we come to the oped page. It opens with a column by Eric Lewis who thinks that parking on Main St. is a great idea, and working well.

Maybe so.....but.......

An editorial that is unsigned is supposed to represent the collective opinion of the whole newspaper. I've always thought that a silly idea. How can a newspaper have a collective opinion? But that's the idea; and that's why editorials are not signed. I once discussed this with the editor of a major newspaper. She said she believed in this principle so firmly that she once decided she had to vote for a party she didn't like - because all the other editors had decided that the "newspaper" was going Conservative on this one.

But here we have Eric Lewis, a member of the newspaper staff, going nose to nose with the editorial.

Hello, Mr. Editor? If your newspaper has a policy of having a "newspaper" opinion, enforce it. If it doesn't (and I think it shouldn't), then use signed editorials.

Brian Cormier presents a touching and well-written story. But why is it on an opinion page? It doesn't give us any insight into the news. It's a good story. But it's not news; and it's not commentary.

The only news story worth reading is on p. A6, reporting on problems of the public consultations which Alward uses so often and, as this story implies, both wrongly and badly.

There is the almost daily Reuters report on Syria which has yet to mention a rather important detail. It is possible that the majority of rebels in Syria, the ones we are sending money and weapons to and we are threatening to intervene for, are Moslems either tied to or sympathetic with Al Quaeda.

Didn't we invade Afghanistan on the claim we were fighting against people like that?  (Actually, Al Quaeda had nothing to do with the invasion of Pakistan. But that was supposedly the reason for our troops being sent there.)

There has scarcely been a word of news on the scandals that have continued to sweep over banking and other commercial circles in the US and Europe. Even the great banks of England have been caught up in wildly irresponsible and probably criminal behaviour that amounts to thefts of billions of dollars from the public. There is now a stampede on in Britain to get money out of commercial banks and into co-ops.

Our banks are okay? Maybe. But remember that our banks do not operate on an island cut off from the rest of the world. They are interlocked with banks everywhere. That makes Canada vulnerable in the same way that a virus from Somalia can mean trouble for us.

And there's a great story in the Washington Post about the newest heroes of the free world. These are intrepid men who are officially called pilots. They even wear pilots' flying gear when they go on bombing missions. But they never leave the ground. In fact, most of them never leave the US.

When it's time to work, they suit up, and sit down at a video game that looks just like a cockpit. And then they aim drones at targets on the other side of the world to kill people who "might" be "suspected" terrorists. In their mess halls. they jokingly call the bodies bug splat.   (Well, that's so much nicer than calling them people or - as they often are - children or even babies.)

 At the pilots' end it's a video game so realistic they think they're there. At the other end, it's death for real people - some of whom could be real enemies. You never know.

Now, these heroes are going to get the recognition their courage merits. Drawings, names and descriptions of a whole new set of medals is underway. One suggestion is DWM - Distinguished Warfare Medal.

Watch for the movie.

Oh, guess which country is, per capita, the leader in the world for both mining and failure to recycle mining products - and which is  the leader for deforesting and failure to recyle forestry products. And the third in the world as an arms seller to - whoever wants them or can get them.

Tomorrow. And, no. You won't find it in The Moncton Times and Transcript.

No comments:

Post a Comment