Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25: Bruce Springsteen Special

Wow! It's right there. Almost a whole front page story about Bruce Springsteen coming to Magnetic Hill. And there's also a great, cat story. PLUS almost a whole page about Springsteen on A13, PLUS a photo of Bruce, himself.  Oh, I could die; I could just die.

AND there's an editorial on Springsteen that's so gushingly pre-teen ("Baby, we were born to rock") that you can almost smell the bubble gum and hear the giggles. AND, oh, let it never end; there's an editorial cartoon of Springsteen's rear end in jeans. And it's just packed with meaning.

Even more! P.1 has a long story, indeed a SPECIAL REPORT about the history of Highfield Square. Now, there's a grabber for you. As I read through it, I wondered why any newspaper should carry such a long and utterly pointless story. The answer came in the final paragraphs. It's a soft pitch for the "events centre" our city hall has been dumb enough to consider. This city and the whole region face immense transit problems, as well as a very serious problem of urban sprawl. And it wants to borrow a hundred million for a hockey rink.

Funny how the Moncton Times and Transcript always talks about how government is incompetent, and how private business knows how to get things done. Then the TandT and city hall get together and tell us what will  be an immensely profitable project - and they want us, through government to pay for it.

Get stuffed.

If this is going to be all that  profitable, why does it need government to pay for it? If it's such a sure thing, let private business do it. Let big business take the risks it always says it is taking, but never does.

Meanwhile, we might look for an urban planning office that knows what those words mean.

Oh, and there's no mention of the pollution under Highfield Square. Now, it seems to me that if this pollutants were no serious problem...well....then they would say so.....

For some reason, the first section also carries lengthy repeats of stories that have already appeared. There's the very long story about the memorial to Ian Fowler, the trip of Dieppe residents to D Day sites and to Dieppe in France. But the interviews with the Dieppe residents are still worth a read. One mentions the ages of those who died. I remember that well from my own experience of visiting the war cemeteries in Europe.

Overwhelmingly, the ages were eighteen, nineteen, twenty... There was even the one that said eighteen under the name of a  boy I had known was only sixteen.

Another repeat, too, was worth repeating. That's the story on p 11 about the historian who claims to have discovered a secret reason that made the Dieppe raid worth while. I have expressed my doubts about this story in at least two posts. I am astonished that our archives would open up such a file to such a very junior historian. That, alone, is suspictious. And I cannot believe it is a coincidence this story was published just as the anniversary of D Day came along.

As well, the story simply doesn't make sense. The planning of Dieppe was dreadful. There's no doubt about that. The decision to go on with the raid even after the raiding force was spotted was incompetent, to put it kindly. A diversionary raid need not have taken so many troops - or such an exposed landing site. This time, I'm happy to see that reporter James Foster did what the reporter of the original story did not do. He asked questions.

 Dr. Marc Milner, a military historian of note, expresses reservations, if in a kind way. (Why on earth didn't reporters check this story with military historians in the first place?) Why have they still not bothered to check O'Keefe's credentials to have been given such an assignment?

In any case, the story ends up with the usual crap that valuable lessons were learned at Dieppe - and that made it worthwhile. Yeah. Lessons like don't land troops on an open beach covered by machine guns and artillery and hemmed in by cliffs - especially don't do it if you know the enemy has found out you are coming. Gee! Who would have guessed?

There's a smell about this story. And it's a very political smell.

NewsToday leads with a story of Alward saying nothing. Then there's a story that Syrian rebels are working on forming a new government. Sure. The reality is that even with massive support from the west, from Turkey and certain Arab states, the rebels are doing badly. They obviously don't have a whole lot of support in Syria.

The most likely result is the disappearance of Syria (and Lebanon) into a scattering of small and ineffectual states - which is exactly what our side wants to see.

Haiti is suffering again, this time from a hurricane. It has few adequate buildings or facilities to deal with the crisis. That's because most of the US earthquake aid was never never delivered at all, and most of what was delivered went to private contractors who did nothing but put the money in offshore bank accounts. First, there was the invasion by thugs which we (including Canada) used to exile the elected President - the only honest leader in that country's history which has been plagued by American-supported dictators for a century. Now, lacking even basic shelter, they have had to face a hurricane. And no doubt, there will be a great flourish of trumpets, and an announcement that aid is on the way - into the pockets of the same contractors who ripped off the last aid money.

The editorial page is a wipe-out - as I hinted with my comment on the editorial and the editorial cartoon.  "Bill" Belliveau is, as always, confusing LIberals with angels. (Liberals don't have halos - a sure giveaway. No angel would be caught dead without his/her/its halo on.)

His column is on Quebec and Charest. Look, "Bill", as a Quebecker who was very involved in Quebec politics, I can tell you that Jean Charest did more damage to a united Canada and more damage to non-francophones in Quebec than the PQ ever did. He is also the leader of a notoriously corrupt government. And he has never, even in his Conservative days, been anything I could define as principled.

There is no party in the Quebec election that anybody of brains or even of basic honesty could vote for. I suspect Quebec is in for a very bad time no matter which of those clowns wins. And there is every danger that Canada has run out of patience.

Norbert writes another of his bland columns. Tell you what really bothers me about him. Norbert has written,  many times, about how the greatest problem facing us is global warming - which is a consequence of our abuse of the environment.

Now Harper is opening up our very fragile North to use even more of the fossil fuels that are killing our planet. Notice that Norbert has never said a word about it? Notice how he's never said a word about shale gas?  Norbert - it you really believe something, have the courage and integrity to speak about it. And if you don't have the courage and integrity, don't waste our time with tales of the Mayor of Toronto. I mean, the paper already has Mazerolle to cover the bland scene.

Gwynne Dyer's column is worth a read. I hope he's right.

Now, I must rest up for my birthday which approaches. So many gifts. So little time.