Friday, October 25, 2013

Oct. 25: there are two...

count them, two important and well reported stories in Section A. (Okay. It's not great. But it's two more than usual.)

One is actually on page 1, "Chief calls for consent." It is an account of statements made by  Chief Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations. The reporter is Brent Mazerolle; and it's a model of good reporting. There is no sign of bias in it. (There is a statement from Alward criticizing Atleo; but there's nothing wrong with having a few lines from the other side.)

Atleo makes two points. One is the frustration and growing anger among first nations at the failure of more than a century of Canadian governments to deal with native rights. The other is the potential dangers of such anger when native peoples are thrust into confrontations for lack of early consultation, lack of consent, and lack of honest information.

You know what he means - lying newspapers, refusal to even consider dropping undesirable projects, bullying, ignoring the legal rights of native peoples. (the latter sentence is mine. Mazerolle did not say it. And that's as it should be since Atleo didn't say it directly. I mention that as an example of good reporting by Mazerolle. The TandT is more commonly fond of inserting such opinion into its news stories.)

The other good and important story is by Adam Huras on p. A 11. He reports on former prime minister Paul Martin making similar statements to those of Atleo. This is particularly interesting because Martin makes reference to useful programmes he had prepapred for native peoples, and which Harper cancelled. (I had not known about those programmes. It would be interesting to see another and more detailed account of them.)

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As for NewsToday, news happened only in Canada and Calfornia. The rest of the world was quiet with nothing happening.

In La Rosa California, a teen age boy was shot when he pointed a realistic looking assault rifle at police. We needed to know that.

On p. C3, there's a big story from one of our own senators, John Wallace, that the Senate has to make a decision in its scandal cases. Gee! Who woulda guessed?
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Excellent column by Alec Bruce. It's about the Senate scandal One, little complaint. It's, quite rightly, hard on senators Duffy and Wallin - and only gently hinting at criticism of Harper. But it looks as though Harper is quite likely the central figure in all this - and a dishonest and manipulating prime minister is a whole lot worse that a few, thieving senators.

Norbert has his standard column on our budget deficits. Tax the poor. Cut services to the general population in such areas as education and health. He doesn't even mention the very rich and the big corporations and their role in creating such a deficit.

If we had a rash of bank robberies, Norbert's solution would be to tax the depositors to make up the loss.

On op ed, Robert Goguen gets his undies all in a sweat over the excitement of  Moncton  becoming the centre for the export of fish to Europe. I see no strong reason to believe that will happen. But by the time we know, the election will be over.

But Goguen is certainly a talented man. - introduces people at barbecues, gets his picture taken with famous people that nobody knows - and - writes commentaries for big time newspapers like the TandT.
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Meanwhile, there is, there really is, a world beyond beyond Canada and even beyond La Rosa, California - and it looks bloody ominous.

The US, far, far the greatest (and most expensive) military power in the world,  cannot win wars. Iraq. taken with the killing of - at the lowest, credible estimate - a half million people - mostly civilians, is close to ungovernable, and has largely been abandoned by the US. Libya is in chaos. Afghanistan was long ago lost. The US is also fighting illegal wars in such places as Yemen and Somalia with heavy destruction of civilian life - and with the net effect of creating more enemy terrorists every day.

Nor is this new. It has been the pattern of American wars since Vietnam. The greatest military power in history cannot defeat tiny and poor states despite killing ruthlessly using bombs, chemicals, drones. It's only real victory since 1945 was the conquest of the small island of Grenada. The power is there. The ruthlessness is there. But all that power and ruthlessness can only destroy. It cannot conquer.

The war in Syria was begun by the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Each had its own motives. For Saudi Arabia, the most bestial and powerful dictatorship in the world (and close friend to the US), it was to destroy a government that, by Saudi standards, was far too progressive and democratic and secular and, therefore, a bad example for the hyper-Moslem Saudi government.

It is now furious that the US is not bombing Syria. In the case of Iran, in which the Saudis and the Israelis are in close agreement, the Saudis want the destruction of Iran because it is Sunni - the wrong brand of Islam (as is Syria). The rulers of Saudi Arabia are notoriously religious fanatics.

Israel want Iran's destruction, not because it could be a nuclear threat - that is nonsense. But Israel wants military domination of the whole region.

North Africa and the middle east have been made a chaos by the US without, in any way, benefitting the US or the region. As well, the US is conducting an unknown number of secret wars all over Africa in an attempt to control the African economies. What it has done, instead, is to create a dangerous instability across the continent.

I think it very unlikely there will be an lasting peace established with Iran. The US really doesn't want it. Nor do Israel or Saudi Arabia. And a war with Iran forces Russia and China into the picture.

The US also has hundreds of bases in the Pacific, mostly aimed at China. The US cannot win a conventional war against a peasantry in Afghanistan. Indeed, it's whole military history for the last fifty years has been a history of expensive disasters.

Fortunately, China is no military threat at all with it's weak and neglected military technology. However, the US could very well stumble into a war with China - and it has bases and fleets in the area for just that reason. So how could it fight a winning war (when the American nation no stomach left for even small wars)?

The answer is obvious - a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

There's a lot happening in the world beyond Riverview. We get almost no news about it and only a weekly column by Gwynne Dyer to help us understand some bit of it.

The world is in on hell of an unstable and frightening condition. And how it turns out will affect even us. But most of what we get is mindless drivel by the likes of Norbert Cunningham and  Robert Goguen.

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