Monday, October 28, 2013

Oct. 28: Nothing much happened in the world...

An amusement park worker was arrested after three people were hospitalized in North Carolina. The lead iten is that a punk poet died A man was arreseted after a Brooklyn stabbing.

Oh, there were other stories around; but you can't fool an Irving press editor with trivia. So those other stories were left for lesser papers like the New York Times and The Guardian where editors are not so - you know - smart.

For examples of the lesser stories that were beneath the profound concerns of the Irving editorial staff:

Israeli authorities have announced that Iran could have a nuclear bomb in a month. (That's quite a change. For ten years, they've been saying that Iran will have one in three months - so time is running out.) They have also said that, if no-one else acts, they will attack Iran before the month is up. (Yawn. You can't fool TandT news editors. That's not nearly as important as an amusement park worker in North Caroline being arrested.)

Syrian "rebels" (mostly hired terrorists from other countries) are settinig up an extreme Islamist state in northern Syria. It has warm sujpport from our good friends in Saudi Arabia. The US played a major role in starting that civil war and in supplyiing the "rebels". So I guess this counts as another triumph of US diplomacy. But editors have to pick the most important stories; and this one just didn't make it. Instead, there is a gripping account of a house burning down in Oromocto.

In Iraq, 16 were killed in a bombing attack. But this is pretty tame stuff for Iraq, happens every day. But the TandT doesn't report it even when it's a hundred in a day - so why report 16?

You remember Iraq. That is the country that the US attacked for having weapons of mass destruction that it didn't have. It killed a minimum of a half million people with some estimates going far higher to, you know, bring prosperity and democracy. It's now a ghost-nation that will almost certainly collapse soon. There was a war that caused enormous destruction and death, impoverished the country, and cost US taxpayers over a trillion dollars - one of the greatest diplomatic disasters in history. But who wants to disicuss nasty stuff?

That European Union (and most of the world) is discussing the massive phone and computer spying network operated by the US against foreign leaders and foreign business. (And Canada is a partner in this.) Chancellor Merkel of Germany, a close US ally, has learned her phone messages have been recorded for over ten years. And Obama knew it.

Congress is saying little, partly because the industrial part of the spying gives nice congressmen tips on which stocks look good to buy.

Oh, and as the US hold on Africa shows signs of weakening, Russia is moving in to replace it, notably in Egypt. But not in the pages of the TandT. No. It needed the space for a big story about a singer getting arrested for assault in Washington.

A big story for the Business Page, always the dreariest in a dreary paper, is about a dying man who scratched his will on the fender of his tractor. It's important that the business world know about that.
The editorial is about a new store coming to Moncton. Now, that is the sort of story that should have been on the business page. It would still be a pretty lightweight story, but it would make more sense there.

Norbert has a column of genetics. (I believe he studied the subject under prof. Lapierre.) It's all about how there's no such thing as race - which is true enough, but hardly a flash. The real problem is that there is still lots of racism in this world, including right here in Canada. Norbert should have given us an example of racism in Canada. For example, he could have used the example of the pamphlet about native peoples distributed by the likes of Stephen Harper and Robert Goguen.

Alex Bruce has a thoughrul column on the Senate. I'm not sure I agree with him. (And not sure I don't.)  It's nice to see something in the Tand T that's worth thinking about.

Steve Malloy has a well written piece. As usual, it's a seemingly small incident, but one that has larger implicatiions. By the end of it, he was pretty damned mad. And so was I.

There is an intriguing and possibly important point made in a Letter to the Editor about the new, European trade deal. I put it in that way because I'm not yet familiar with the terms of the deal. But I suspect this letter is dead on because what it suggests follows common lines in such deals.

It's called "Trade agreement bad for water?"

It's first point is that supplying the goods in the agreement will make heavy and even impossible demands on our water supply. The second is even worse, much worse.

It effectively privatizes the ownership of water in Canada. This is a common agreement is such deals. When a poverty-stricken country appeals to the World Bank for a loan to build a water supply system because its people are now getting their water from open trenches and other polluted sources, The World Bank frequently insists that the system much be privately owned. ( Of course. The World Bank was established to make money for billionaires, not to help anybody else.)

The result in those countries, commonly, is that the family bill for water exceeds that for food. And the poor are often forced back to the open trenches and polluted streams for their drinkiing water..

The writer's point is that Harper's agreement gives away control of Canada's water. Private, often foreign, companies can use out water as they like, even in ways that are seriously damaging to the environment. And any attempt to stop them or even to regulate the uses of water leads to stunningly expensive law suits. It's a give-away of the most important resource we h ave.

This is a letter that makes a lot of sense. Such clauses are now common in trade agreements, and they very much reflect the greed and irresponsibility of Harper's economic thinking.

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