Friday, February 15, 2013

Feb. 15:We made it!

Human Rights Watch is an organization originally aimed at investigating human rights abuse in the Soviet Union. Since then, it has expanded with work all over the world. Recently, it drew attention to Canada, investigating some pretty serious charges concerning the treatment of native peoples - especially women.

Their investigation of focuses on native women and native peoples in general in northern BC. They compiled testimony of widespread fear among native people in the region. There were many cases of brutal beatings, humiliations, and rape. The charges all pointed to the provincial police. (who are the RCMP in BC as they are in New Brunswick.

Charges had often been laid to the "proper authorities" - and the proper authorities simply ignored them.

At last, Human Rights Watch presented its charges (including a note that the "proper authorities" had refused to act on them) to the people of Canada and their House of Commons. Harper's response?

He poured contempt on a highly respected world agency, and told them that if they have charges they should present them to the "proper authorities" - the same ones the report complained about.

In short, we have a prime minister who doesn't care if native women get beaten and raped. He doesn't care if native peoples in parts of Canada live in constant fear. All he has ever shown concern for is letting oil and other resource companies do whatever they like to our people and our environment.

Harper may be many things. But he's not much of a man.

And the TandT isn't much of a newspaper. It never even reported the story.

However, there's a good side to the story. The op ed page has a column by the president of Crandall U. explaining its hiring policies as products of religious belief. The good news in the column is that Harper might not care whether women get beaten and raped, and live their lives in fear, and he might not care whether Canadians get ill or suffer terminal environmental damage - but he still meets the rigorous moral standards for employment at Crandall University. At least, he ain't gay. (Of course, one could say the same for Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Jack the Ripper, all of whom would meet the Crandall standard.)
The bombshell story is in the NewsToday section, p. 3, Kelly Lamrock, former Liberal minister of education, has joined the NDP. I can't even pretend to have a handle on that story yet. However, it is surely unlikely that Mr. Lamrock has done this simply for personal advantage That alone is a good sign in the politics of this province of self-seeking political hacks.

P.1 of that section has the strange story of Dorner, the ex-LA policeman who killed two, innocent people out of rage concerning the police department. The interesting points of this story concern a word that isn't there, and one that is there.
1. The word race does not appear. Why not? Dorner's original complaint was about the racism and  brutality of the LAPD. And, in fact, the LAPD has a very long history of brutality and of deliberately encouraged racism. How could the story not  have mentioned that?
2. The police burned his hiding place down using 'pyrotechnic tear gas canisters'. That sounds almost cute, sort of like fireworks. In fact, these were highly sophisticated grenades that create temperatures so high they can burn through cast iron armour. They are advanced military weapons. Why are police forces using these?

In fact, all over the US, police forces are being militarized, with armored transport, drones, the works. This seems a little overdone for tracking down the average hood. So why is it happening?

Well, just a guess - this is so a military-style force can be used to put down any unpleasntness of American people like, say, environmentalists or other protestors ( shale gas, pipelines, you name it.)

3. To that we might add a question. Wasn't burning down the cottage rather an extreme measure to get a man who was trapped, and could not possibly get away? It might have been possible, quite possible, to get him alive.
Of course, they might not have wanted him alive. This is a story which, if it were to go on, would be extremely embarrassing for the LAPD. But the LAPD has for years been effective in using the press to quiet any unpleasantness. That's why the American press hasn't asked any questions.

Is the TandT deliberately hiding information? Probably not. There's not an editor in the whole Irving press who has a clue about any of the above.

The editorial says nothing.

Norbert contributes a long, boring,soft-core jargon-filled and largely meaningless column about the economic future. It's vague. It talks about things Norbert doesn't understand - like "culture of dependence". If there is a culture of dependence in this province, it's in the economic leadership which depends on (soaks, rips off, etc.) the rest of us to give it tax breaks, cheap loans, special deals to pollute, etc.

The really bad news is that he promises to continue this bilge tomorrow. Oh, death, where is thy sting?

Alec Bruce is well worth reading. He talks about events in Uganda - which sounds pretty far from our lives. In fact, there is a close connection with us as you will see if you read Dr. Bruce Fawcett's (President of Crandall U.) piously nasty column on the op ed page. He speaks as though he is being persecuted for his religious beliefs. Well, Dr. B. - do unto others, etc.

For today, Steve Malloy writes the kind of column that I usually don't care for, the sort so often churned out by Rod Allen and Brent Mazerolle, etc. It's a little story about himself and his personal life. But there's a difference. While it is a personal story, it is not just about him and his life. It's about all of us.

And it's not a trivial story. It's about feelings we all have locked away - but can't forget. This is a column well worth thinking about in the context of our own lives.

Just one, little hint for Steve (hey, I'm a teacher. I mean, we all have our faults, even me.) The story is well told - but it could use extra punch. It's too vague on what it was that you and your mother butted heads over. I'm sure that's a difficult place to go - but you have to go there as much for yourself as for your readers.
In letters to the editor, you will find "Watch for fast inflation". This one is full of misinformation and missing information about the economics of Canada, and is full of the usual, meaningless buzzwords. (It could have been written by Norbert.)

It's in praise of the "free enterprise" system. I presume that by that he means capitalism though, in fact, capitalism has nothing to do with free enterprise.

The message is that, whatever its faults, "free enterprise" is the only one that works. He says this standing in the middle of an economic and social chaos that "free enterprise" has caused.

The example of Cuba is, of course, his prime example of what is wrong with any alternative to "free enterprise". This shows a certain lack of knowledge.
1. Cuba was for years under a "free enterprise" dictatorship controlled by big business in the US. The nation lived in poverty, education and health care barely existed. The dictator's army stole, raped, killed with impunity.
Today, Cuba is still a relatively poor country, partly thanks to an embargo imposed on it by the "free enterprise" US for over 50 years. Despite that, it now has a public education system superior to that of the "Free enterprise" US. And that education is free all the way through university. That's one reason why, per capita, Cuba far outclasses the US in the production of doctors (indeed, many Americans are now studying medicine in Cuba. And this poor country outclasses the US in health services, infant mortality rates, etc.)

"Income inequality right now is not fair for many, but let's not do things to ruin our economy." Oh? When was income inequality fair? When was that magic age of income fairness under 'free enterprise"?

As to ruining our economy, income inequality and the leaders of "free enterprise" are precisely the things that are ruining it. Our economy cannot recover if most of us are too poor to buy even basic necessities. And it was the policies of "free enterprise" that have caused the economic crisis we are living in. Remember what it cost to bail them out?

As to inflation, you don't have to go to Argentina for a horror story. In real terms, the US dollar is worthless - thanks to the brilliant leadership of 'free enterprise'. Every cent of American income tax revenue goes the military and the defence industries. Everything else is borrowed - with a debt now so  high it cannot ever be paid. One day soon, that will break. China will stop lending. And when that happens, the American dollar will be confetti.

Essentially, this letter to the editor could have been written by Mr. Irving. It's advice? Do nothing. in particular don't squander money on people. Just keep sending it to us so we can carry on the fine work that has led us to this crisis.

For a horrible example of where that takes us, see a BBC TV broadcast, "Requiem for Detroit". It's a real kick in the stomach. a story of racism, of extremely bad judgement by business leaders, a bad judgement resulting from the model of business practice in "free enterprise" - weak, very weak planning for the future combined with a complete lack of any morality or ethics in judgement.

I got "Requiem for Detroit" on my tablet (an IPad) by paying a $10 a month subscription to watch old and new BBC programming. It's been money well spent.

I'm having trouble finding out whether this is available for computer - though I'm sure it must be.

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