Saturday, July 21, 2012

June 21: Praise the Lord.......

....and pass the ammunition.

That was a Amerian popular song of World War Two. Appropriately, it was about army chaplains who helped to load the guns. I thought of it when I read a post from a former student (an American). He wrote to me about the shooting spree in Colorado (p,D1 in today's TandT) in which 71 were shot, with 12 killed. He told me about the immediate reactions of the two men who are campaigning for president. The solution they offered to a stunned nation?

Pray.

There are something over 250 million guns in the US. It's the world's largest market for guns, the largest manufacturer and the largest exporter. On a visit to a gun store in Arizona, I was offered a heavy machine gun (fires rifle bullets at five hundred a minute - all day) for three thousand dollars. At the same price, they had an anti-tank gun.

But I would have produce ID showing I was 16.

The also had a range of submachine guns (pistol bullets fired in bursts) at very reasonable prices. This is all possible because of years of lobbying and brainwashing by the National Rifle Association (a lobby group for gun makers) which has convinced Americans that their democracy depends on an armed and alert public.

Estimates place the number of potentially violent and mentally ill Americans at 25 to 30 million. But it's worse than that. For over seventy years, the American people  have been brainwashed into fear and hatred and panic. The fear of Russia and communism grew into a national paranoia over tiny Cuba,  Guatemala. Thanks to geography, the US is the most unattackable country in the world. It is also the most attacking one with over 200 wars since 1775, all of them against smaller countries, including Canada.

But it's still scared - of the Molems that it has been attacking (without really noticing it) for a century, of Bolivia, of Yemen, of Afghanistan...... And now it's socially degenerating with growing poverty and insecurity. And 250 million guns.

Pray.  Pray hard. That is the sum total of response of the candidates for the presidency to a mass murder in a nation of guns.  Did I mention that the NRA is a major contributor to election campaign funds?

Oh, there's another gun story. It wasn't important enough to  meet the high standards of The Moncton Times and Transcript, but Toronto is now having shootouts on a daily basis.

Pray.

 But if God tells you to bring in gun controls, and to cut down on politicians and news media that encourage hatred and hysteria. don't listen to Him. Just praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to if our clergy carried heat.

Now, we move to the style of a newspaper.  There are press releases, and there are news stories. And they are really not quite the same. See page 1 "Private council meetings necessary: officials". That's not a news story. That's a press release.

It has information. But all the information comes from municipal officials. That's like publishing a "story" on the life of a rapist - and with all the information coming from the rapist. That's not a story. That's a press release.

To make it a story, to give it context and meaning, one has to contact other sources - the police, the victims. And one has to some pretty tough questioning of the rapist.

But this "city officials" story has no other sources than the officials; doesn't try to find any; and doesn't appear to question anything that was said. This isn't reporting. This is stenography.

But -note. This is not the fault of the reporter. It's the fault of whoever edited the first page. An editor is one who is supposed to be an expert on these things. The reporter may well have asked questions, and have checked other sources. And the editor may well have, probably did, cut those parts out.. It's a characteristic of TandT "news stories".

The Reuters report on Syria seems accurate - as far as it goes. But Reuters has still not said just who these rebels are - even though it is getting most of its news from them.Apparently, very few of them are interested in democracy, and many of them have interests quite hostile to us.

But that's in the distant future - probably weeks. What counts right now is that knocking out Syria will open the door for an attack on Iran - which has oil. And which refuses to give away its oil to western oil companies as the west forced it to from 1920 to 1950. At that point, Iran rudely tried to control its own oil.  So the US, Britain, and France overthrew the democratic government of Iran , and imposed a dictator. That is what turned Iran so strongly to Islam.  Iran is also a barrier to Israeli ambitions to dominate the Middle East.

Oh - and Reuters, with all it's resources, doesn't seem to know that when Syrian rebels (the good guys) attacked a Syrian army (the bad buys) border post, they pulled out the 23 Syrian soldiers who had been in it - and publicly cut off the arms and the legs of the commanding officer. Then, again publicly, they lined up the 22 soldiers and shot them.

But Reuters, relying on the rebels for its news, didn't get that story. Too bad none of their sophisticated staff don't listen to Radio Netherlands or read the many European newspapers that did carry the whole story.

Also in News Today is the story that when Canada's premiers meet in Halifax next week, much of the cost will be paid by anybody at all who wishes to do so. In return, that anybody who pays enough gets to meet with the premiers and to chat about whatever interests him or her. Now, that's what I call listening to the people. Well - to all those people who can pay $10,000 to $50,000 for a social evening.

In short, corporations lobbyists can discuss what they want from our premiers. Irving Shipbuilding, always an ardent friend of democracy, has contributed $25,000. The premier says this will save valuable taxpayers' money. And, of course, it will. We need to save valuable taxpayers' money so we can give it ot the lobbyists.

PostMedia sees nothing odd about this, and asks no question. Of course not. The ownership of PostMedia is a lot like the ownership of the Moncton Times and Transcript.

And interesting letter to the editor suggesting that Codiac Transpo staff are going on strike so they can buy BMWs. This letter writer could be a hot prospect to do editorials for the TandT.

Editorial and op ed page? Read Gwunne Dyer. The rest are the sort of irrelevancies you discuss over beer.  Well, maybe several beers.



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