Most of the news that appears in newspapers is useless. That is particularly true of foreign news. It appears in such isolated snippets that it means nothing. In fact, it is usually (and deliberately) misleading. For example, we are told that rebels in Syria attacked some place. Okay. So what?
Actually, that is a piece of a very big so what. The so what is that the whole world is going through a rapid change, one that is going to have an enormous effect on us. But all we get from Canadian Press in the TandT is a snippet that tell us nothing. It even lies.
There are very few "rebels" in Syria. Rebels are people within a country who rise against their leaders. But very few of the Syrians rebels are Syrians. And a "civil war" in one group in the country fighting against another from the same country. There is no civil war in Syria. There is an invasion of Syria by mercenaries and jihadists financed and supplied by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and with backing from the US, Britain and France.
Another big thing is that the US has found huge fuel deposits within the US. It no longer depends on middle east oil. In any case, Saudi Arabia is running out. And if it doesn't depend on middle east oil, it loses its concern about the survival of Israel. (Yes, kiddies, there is no Santa Claus, and it's a cold world out there.)
News stories not only lie but, even if they wanted to they couldn't tell the whole story. By its nature, news tells snippets. of what's happening. It doesn't give the big picture. News like that is more easily available on TV - and more up to date. There is simply no point to having it in a newspaper. There hasn't been since the invention of the radio.
What newspapers should have is - daily - one or two columns of analysis and opinion by people who know what they're talking about. No, not TandT staff writers - people more like Gwynne Dyer.
A starting point might be a document easily available on google. Project for the New American Century. This, prepared by far right conservatives, including people who would become prominent in the Bush White House, was a proposal for world conquest, using the military to get control of all the world's business dealings. (They didn't call it conquest, of course. They called it "spreading American values and democracy".) That's why Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya were invaded. That's why Yemen and Somalia and Pakistan have been attacked by drones. That's why the US army set up an Africa Command. That's why the US has supported Israel as well the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Emirates.
And it has been a disaster. Afghanistan is lost. Iraq is on the edge of being lost - or of breaking up. Libya is a mess. Almost all of Africa is in chaos. The cost of the wars and of pleasing people like Israel's leaders has been immense. The US is broke. It is worse than broke. Its dollar has no real value.There is no gold supporting it, no thriving economy. Indeed, Americans are experiencing levels of poverty and hunger that have not been seen in generations. (notice we don't read much about that in our papers?)
And China has suddenly boomed into the world scene as an economic and military power. Much of Latin America is going the same way and, in doing so, is throwing off more than a century of American control.
Obama has almost certainly realized that the US cannot conquer the world. It's military record has been dismal since 1945. And it simply cannot afford to conquer the world, anyway. What it must do is to concentrate on containing China (which may mean making nice with Russia), and on salvaging its power in Latin America. The project for The New American Century is dead.
But the Republicans and numbers of military leaders and of people in the defence industry are still true believers in The New American Century. Petraeus is one of them.
Think of two of his answers to two questions when he went to Congress.
1. He could not send a true report to Obama about what happened in Benghazi because some unknown clerk of something in the White House would not permit him to do so.
2. He wrote and signed a false report to the president on the orders of that clerk.
The Chief of the CIA is not permitted to tell the truth to the President? That is not possible. No president or intelligence chief would ever permit that. So why did Petraeus lie? There are probably many possibilities. One is that Petraeus did not want to let the president to know that he was operating a forbidden prison and torture centre in the US embassy in Benghazi. Another is that the president knew about it, condoned it, but did not want the word to get out.
Add to that the fact Petraeuswas known to be on the side of the Republican, world conquest warhawks - at a time when Obama had decided to go in the other direction. Was Paula a part of the setup to get rid of Petraeus?
On, I'm sure not. She was appointed his biographer purely because she was a good writer; not because she was a beauty with a great body and, (how can I put it?) was flexible in her acceptance of job requirements.
Oh- Obama fired him (accepted his resignation) because he was unfaithful to his wife. Tell me about it. Then explain why they didn't fire Eisenhower and Patton, both of whom had very public affairs. Then there was the secretary of state who had public affairs with anything that could walk, including the Queen of Greece. And there are more than a few presidents on the list.
There have been a few firings in the military. There are probably going to be some more. And Obama's secret service is going to have to be watching his back pretty closely for some time to come. The stakes are pretty high.
Meanwhile, countries like Britain and France and Turkey are sniffing around the middle east and Africa. They once had empires there. They lost them after World War Two as the US moved in to replace them. Now, it's in reverse. The US is getting out. Britain, France and Turkey would like to move back. Israel sees a brief opening to build a Greater Israel.
And what will Harper do? Whatever Obama tells him to do. And if there is a sudden change in the presidency? Harper will do whatever the new president tells him to do.
It's going to be one hell of a dangerous year.
Norbert - please try to write a column on one topic at a time. Doing three in one column just opens you up to rant.
The editorial says the government should move ahead on shale gas as 'its consultant' advised. Actually, there were two consultants. One of them did not advise 'moving ahead', quite the contrary. The other consultant was an academic fraud, giving advice he had no mandate to give on a subject of which he knew very little.
Anyway, the government is going ahead. It says so in Section C, p.1. Doesn't the editorial writer read his own paper? (Mind you, if he doesn't, that's at least a sign there is life above his eyebrows.) Notice, too, the editor refers to two demonstrations in Fredericton. The pro-shale gas demonstration was, I'm quite sure, a plant organized by the industry. And it worked. It gave the Irving press its chance to pretend there is a large and active pro-shale gas movement.
But don't worry. The government is going ahead on shale gas. The people who really run this province have an arrogance that comes from two hundred years of bullying, lying, and stealing. Alward will do what he's told. And when he loses the election, the TandT will boost the new Liberal leader. And he will do what he's told.
(I've seen the new leader's type many times before - the photogenic one obsessed with popularity. The one who goes into politics with no principles whatever, no purpose except public attention. Shallow, self-absorbed. I got to know the type on committees they served on only to make political contacts. One of them was my seat partner for ten years of long, long meetings. He passionately wanted to be important. And he did it.
He became the right hand man for Mayor Tremblay of Montreal, the mayor who recently had to resign for corruption. Bad timing for my old, committee partner.
Anything good in the paper? As always - Alec Bruce and Jody Dallaire. The latter raises a particularly challenging issue that too many men will lack the courage and integrity to read. It they want to protect themselves, women are going to have to stop asking male authorities, and get tough about telling them what must be done.