Monday, September 10, 2012

Sept. 10: Norbert says it all....

Seriously, Norbert does say it all. It's in a quite decent column on the editorial page in which he comments on an extraordinary discovery about our DNA. He says the implications for humanity are enormous.. Then he says....

"I think there's a good case to be made that editors around the world missed the boat by not making this their lead, headline news."

Yes, indeed.

When was the last time you saw a lead, headline story in the Moncton Times and Transcript with enormous implications for humanity?

Is it one of today's lead stories?  "Moncton dips into food fest"? Or is it that big picture of a balloon?

In the whole of section A, there are, at best, two or three items worth reading. And there is a kind of important story "Baghdad rocked by car bombs". It's important because in the continuing disaster that was the British/American intervention in Iraq, we are now well into a worsening phase that the TandT hasn't bothered to say much about. The country is, quite literally, being torn apart.- and that is going to make for one hell of an unstable middle east.

But even that didn't make the paper's  headline. It was hidden on p. 2 beside the chess quiz and the sudoku puzzle. Whey put it there, in a section that is normally local news?  Probably because there was an empty space there, and the story just fit.

To balance that, NewsToday, which usually carries national and international news, has a New Brunswick story. It also has an inane story telling us that Stephen Harper is of the opinion that Canada's victory in the 1971 Canada-Russia hockey series helped end the cold war. This is pure childishness.

Then, a really important international story is hidden on the back page of NewsToday. It seems that the 9/11 attack on New York killed more than 1,000 people just from its after-effects as the fires released toxic chemicals. That's in addition to the more than 2,700 killed immediately. And people are still dying from 9/11. Some 20,000 more are being treated for illnesses related to the attack. And another 40,000 are being monitored. That's a total of some 63,000.

Now, in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the US killed at least several millions with bombs, fire, napalm, toxic chemicals and depleted uranium. At 9/11, the ratio of the total killed immediately and those who are dying early, is 25 to1. So that would make the death tolls for Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan at least 75,000,000 - and probably far worse considering the lack of medical facilities in those countries.

And none of those countries had attacked the US, or had anything to do with 9/11.

But don't expect to see a headline on that, either, in the Moncton Times and Transcript.

The editorial writer gushes like a lovesick cow at the coming of Wayne Gretzky, and speaks of his/her excitement at the thought that Gretzky might put in a good word for the new hockey rink (oops, sorry, events centre.) Might put in a good word?

Gretzky's talk is being sponsored by TD Canada Trust and Enterprise Greater Moncton. Oh, and he will be introduced by the geegoshwhizeroo former "most illustrious" premier of NB, Frank McKenna.

And the editorial writer is just keen to hear what Mr. Gretzky's thoughts might be on the new hockey rink.

Well, gee, duh, like I think, you know, duh, he might think it's a good thing. Just like the illustrious hustler Mr. KcKenna does and all the illustrious deep thinkers of Enterprise Greater Moncton. I mean, like, do you really think he's just here to see the tidal bore and maybe dine out at a Big Stop?

And they're so good to us. I mean, you put all those people together, and they could easily pony up enough of their money and borrow enough more to build that rink - and then to keep for themselves all the huge profits that the rink will surely generate. But no, they want us to have all that profit. I kiss the ground those saints walk on.

Oh, and Mayor Leblanc will be there to answer questions, so everything will be clear and out in the open.

And Gretzky should be ashamed of himself. (The others won't be. If they were capable of shame they wouldn't be partners to this scam.)

If you read just a little bit between the lines of Alec Bruce's column, few Americans are crazy about either of their political parties. That's probably more dangerous for Obama than it is for Romney because Obama last time had the advantage of being the image of hope. And he has certainly left that image in ashes.

But it's even more dangerous for the nation. Political trust, belief in democracy are the lowest they have ever been in the US. This is coupled with massive unemployment, and low wages for those who do get jobs. And it's going to get worse, much worse. The major response of government so far has been to militarize the police in both equipment and training, to set up a domestic espionage system that is the most extensive in history with files on the private lives of virtually all Americans (and more than a few of us), with the extension of powers to imprison American citizens with no charge or trial - even to assassinate them on presidential order - and with torture the flavour of the day.

The spying is often illegal; and it concentrates on African Americans, hispanics, anyone who looks different.

The reality is that the US is a police state. It's not going that way. It's not showing tendencies. It has happened.   All that remains uncertain is how long it can maintain even a facade of democracy. Oh, and how long we will remain a democracy - if we still are.

The op ed page is the usual dead loss. It, alone, is free of any danger of being spied on.

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