Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10: A salute to a brave man....

....on the op ed page, columnist Steve Malloy, brave little lad that he is, bares his chest to the rocks and arrows of enraged hockey fans.  He's fed up with the "constant fuss" about hockey.

Damn right. It's becoming a national embarrassment.

Nobody objects to any fans enjoying their favourite spectator sports. But the frenzy this country can go into over a hockey game suggests a stunning level of  immaturity. There is nothing peculiarly Canadian about playing hockey. It doesn't tell us anything about the Canadian "character" (if there is one.) It does not develop leadership or individualism or even team spirit. We are in no way better than other countries because we can win at hockey. We are, especially, no better than others because we have to get hammered before we can get into the real spirit of watching a game.

Now, I'm going into hiding. And I suggest Steve Malloy join me.
Page 1 has a pretty thoroughly unprofessional article on the troubles of Ukraine. Minimally, the reporter should have read just a little bit about Ukrainian history.

"Metro's Ukrainian community reflects on country's turmoil." is the story. The total community is about 20 people, some of whom have never seen Ukraine.  Briefly, the theme in the article is that Ukraine is fighting for personal and national freedom.

Really? Is this the same Ukraine that provided whole divisions for Hitler's Waffen SS? I note, too, that Svoboda, one of the leading groups in the current struggle for freedom is, in fact, a neo-Nazi party whose members today appear in public in uniforms inspired by their old Waffen SS uniforms which proudly display a stylized swastika. And their salute is upraised arm held at an angle.

We are even given a poem by Tara Shevechenko, the Ukrainian poet who suffered imprisonment for calling for freedom.  Shevechenko was a courageous and intelligent man.

But I don't think the freedom to wear nazi uniforms and swastikas was what he meant by freedom.

Ukrainians were also highly co-operative in sending Jews to death camps, and being active in the mass murder of the camps.

There are also ultra-nationalist groups, not only anti-semitic, but anti-anybody whose family was not entirely Ukrainian for the whole of recorded history.

The is the part of Ukrainian society whose mob overturned the elected government, and appointed a cabinet of its own people.  What they now appear dedicated to doing is reducing the Ukrainian people to utter poverty so that all the foreign bankers they owe money to can get paid in full.

And the new president is a banker. What a coincidence!

Shevechenko would be in tears.

One interviewee compared Ukraine to the "struggle for freedom" in Venezuela. In fact, freedom has nothing to do with the struggle in Venezuela, either. It's a struggle of the upper and middle classes to recapture the power and privilege they once had - and which created monstrous poverty. And it's a struggle in which US oil companies have a close interest.

Amazing how our news media use the words freedom and democracy in such a loose way.

NewsToday, p.1, has "Putin defends separatist drive". It's from The Associated Press, and it has a characteristic shared with all the reports I  have seen on Ukraine. It scarcely mentions Obama.

In the Cuban crisis, over sixty years ago, it was all Kennedy. Lots of images of Kennedy speaking, Kennedy taking military steps, staged photos of  Kennedy oashe bigger than life warrior....

This report has one sentence, just one, that mentions Obama. And the heroic photos? They don't exist.

Obama's statement in this story is that for Crimea to separate from Ukraine would defy International Law.  Amazing how often you hear about that threat.

Amazing how seldom it happens.

We really do have international law. We really do have very competent international courts. So how come Obama does not charge Putin before an international court?

The US tried and hanged Hussein. Why didn't that go to an international court? (And, for that matter, if Bush and Blair acted legally in invading Iraq, why wouldn't they be anxious to go before the court to defend themselves. (On the contrary, both Bush and Blair are careful to avoid countries which have arrest warrants out for them.)

I've often heard of countries charging each other with offences under international law. But it's rare, indeed, for them to go to court.

Except for Malloy's column, there is nothing special about the editorial or op ed pages.

As always, the political ones stay far away from even a hint of the greatest political and economic problem facing New Brunswick. It starts with 'I".  But as a long as that problem is there, New Brunswick will be poor, badly informed and trivial.


As I was writing this, an incident of the summer kept going through my mind, the anti-shale gas protests at Rexton.

We still get frequent reports of people being jailed for that. But I wonder.....

Who was responsible for what happened? Was it the ones who got arrested for standing on the road? or kneeling in front of the police line? or even the few, violent ones?

Here is a situation in which a government lied to people for years. It promised full information on shale gas - but never delivered. It completely ignored the only expert report it ever had on health aspects of shale gas. Then, to cover that up, it hired an unqualified professor with a record of giving the government whatever it wanted to hold a very spotty series of meetings, and to submit his own report - not on health factors, but on other matters he also knew nothing about.

In doing so, the professor was in violation of several laws. He was also guilty, I should think, of exposing people to severe risk - a hell of a lot worse, I should think, than the offence of the woman who knelt on the road in front of the police.

But no charges were laid against the professor. There was virtually no comment from government. The Irving press even wrote a disgustingly unethical report which suggested he was a fine gentleman of high repute who had been unfairly hounded out of his job.

And there was a letter in the Irving press testifying to what a fine and capable person this man was. It was signed by somebody named Irving.

The people who lived near the fracking site were in fear of the dangers this might pose to their homes and their families.  But at every step they had been lied to or kept in ignorance by the government, the fracking companies, the press, and the economic leaders of this province. They simply sat back in the comfort of their offices - and they lied and cheated.

So who was responsible for that protest?

The people of the region had nothing to gain by it. The politicians and business leaders and their flunkies had everything to gain.

Laws are made to favour those who make the law.

1 comment:

  1. Further to the falsehoods in Ukraine:
    Kiev snipers hired by new coalition, not Yanukovych - Estonian FM to Ashton