Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sept. 16: "Alward confident in last year of mandate"

Who could possibly bloody care? This isn't news. This isn't news of any sort And It's miles from being a headline story. Apparently, Alward said this to the editorial board of the TandT. Wow! What a brave man to face those penetrating minds! (There is no indication that the editorial board asked him any questions, or expressed any doubt of anything he said. He must as well have been interviewed by a tape recorder. This "readallaboutit" headline is really just a "feel-good" propaganda piece for Conservatives. So it's written, of course, by Brent Mazerolle. It does tell us one thing, though. Mr. Irving approves of of Mr. Alward. He finds the premier a good stooge. But not to worry. There is no reason to doubt that the Liberal leader would be just as good a stooge. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ In NewsToday, Harper reminds Canadians that his party is on the side of good. This time, he is showing it by saying it is bad to be a sex offender - and he has an "action plan". Under his government, sex offenders will have to notify authoritiees if they plan to go abroad. There's also a letter from Conservative MP Robert Gogoo in Letters to the Editor enlarging on the action plan - and I'm sure Mr. Gogoo wrote it all by himself. Way to deal with the big issues of the day, Stevie baby. All the other parties support sex offenders. But not our Stevie. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The UN has released a report that sarin gas was used in Syria. Well, we already knew that; so the US had to add that this was conclusive proof the the Syrian government had used it. Britain and France, as expected, agree with the US. But there are three catches to to their view: 1. The UN report says it is not known which side used it. 2. It is known that both sides have it. 3. Though the gas was fired at a rebel-held area, there is no evidence that any rebel fighters were killed - just civilians. Gee! How can that have happened? The weeks of coverage of this story in the TandT have been largely wasted because it has not occured to anybody at Brunswick News (or most other papers) to ask some obvious questions. What is a weapon of mass destruction? Why are poison gas and other chremical weapons in that category? Why does international law ban them? If they're banned, why have so many countries, including Britain, France, the US, Israel (and Canada) continued the development (and use) of them? The research would take less than a half hour - and we'd begin to get some understanding of the news. Poison gas was first used in World War One. It had some effect in it's first, surprise use; but it soon became much less effective as each side developed countermeasures. After the war, it was occasionally used against civilians. (Churchill ordered the use of it against Kurd villages about 1920. Most countries agreed between the wars to ban poison gas because it killed men, women, children, civilians indiscriminately. Then, and in following years, they banned other chemical and biological weapons - for the same reason. The ban against gas was an easy one, a display of moral concern that cost nothing because poison gas had worn out its usefulness as a decisive weapon. In our time, such weapons, illegal for their indiscriminate killing, are referred to as WMD's - a term invented as part of the excuse to invade Iraq. (In fact, the sarin gas that Itaq had was given to it by the US to be used against Iran. Iraq disposed of it; but got invaded anyway.) In fact, devlopment and and stockpiling of these indiscriminate killers called WMDs continued despite all the self-righteus declarations that they were too terrible to use. And they were and are used to this day - by countries like Britain and France and the US - and Canada. Until recently, at least, Canada has had one of the world most advanced research centres in such weapons, usually working in close cooperation with US scientists. On at least one occasion, Canada used phosphorus shells in Afghanistan. Israel used phosphorous against Palestinian civilians. The US tested Agent Orange right here in the area around Camp Gagetown. It then used it in massive quantities against civilians in Vietnam. It supplied Sarin to both Saddamn of Iraq and Ghadaffi of Libya. The greatest mass killing in one raid happened in 1944 when the US killed some 200,000 people, almost all civilians, with a fire-bombing raid over Tokyo. As well, those two, nuclear bombs were kind of indiscriminate mass killers. So are drones which the US now widely uses. So is depleted uranium which the US used in Iraq. So why is sarin gas a "red line" in Syria? And why is our own Mr. Baird so selectively outraged at its use? Because Britain and France, and powerful people in the US, want an excuse to intervene in the Syrian war on the side of the "rebels". Israel has mixed feelings. It would dearly love to see the Syrian government overthrown. But the prospect of a win by rebels closely attached to Al Quaeda is not an attractive one to Israel. But Putin has so far outflanked them all. And why is Baird outraged? I suppose he likes to think that world powers give a damn what he thinks. If he thinks. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ P.D2 has a brilliant coverage of Tantramar Senior's College registration. Pay close attention to columns two and three which deal with courses offered for Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview. The last one, "Understanding the News", is on Thursdays from 1 to 3, for six weeks beginning Oct. 10 at NBCC. (I am too modest to say who the instructor is). Registration is on Sept. 25, noon to 1:30, at NBCC. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Today's editorial is about yesterday's fluffy story on a fluffy speech by Frank McKenna. I have no idea why what was worth an editorial. The first column by Norbert on his politial platorm for 1914 is dominated by his key suggestion - to sell more booze to New Brunswickers. Yep. If there's one problem that curses this province is its severe shortage of drunks. He would also eliminate the safety inspections for cars. Good move. We don't have nearly enough dangerous cars on the road. He would review all programmes, services, etc.; and make them more effective. Way to lay it on the line Norbie. All the other parties are saying we should review alll programmes, etc. to make them ineffective. He will keep corporation taxes low to attract investment. (Norbert, we have low corporation taxes. The US has even lower ones. So how come we aren't runing around with investment proposals coming out of our ears?) Norbert also believes in progressive taxes. Norbert - are you sure you know what that means? Prograssive taxation is a system that raises the percentage of tax to be paid as income rises. In other words, it means raising the taxes of the rich (including corporations) and lowering taxes of the poor. But that goes against your policy of keeping low taxes for the super-rich. And, in Norbert's government, MLAs would be expected to participate. Wow! What a breakthrough in political thought! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ By the way, CBC has the story on Irving Oil being questioned about submitting a false statement of the nature of the cargo that hit Lac Megantic. Such statements (but truthful) are required by law because communities on the route need to know what kinds of problems are likely to be encountered so they have the equipment at hand to deal with them. Lac Magentic, according to the information it received, had no inkling of the possibility of a massive fire because Irving Oil misreported the volatility of its cargo. That's yesterday's news. But Brunswick Press still doesn't have it. The TandT made fun of the railway president when he gave a late visit to Lac Megantic and offered a (sort of) apology.) Irving hasn't visited. He hasn't offered any sort of apology. Abd 47 people are dead. And the TandT hasn't said a word. That's quite a depth of moral and ethical betrayal. So, for the time, we shall have to be satisfied with the "The Last Word" at the end of Norbert's column. "A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody." So you understand these quotation you put at the end of your column, Norbert? Would it help if I were to draw you a picture?

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