Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 19: Flash! Breaking news! See page A 1.

If a parking meter is snowed in so it is inaccessible, you don't have to feed it. Actually,  I had already figured that as pretty obvious. But this is useful news. This is the news we need.

Correction. This is the news we needed early in December of 2013. It is now late March. I wonder if they have any snow warnings to give us for January. I also wonder why this is a news story at all. It could have been just as effective and less time-consuming as a notice in a little box.

This isn't a small item. Some editor heard about this, contacted the assignment editor to send a reporter (a phone call would have been enough), and then concluded this needed a major story on page 1. It's a strong example of the contempt editors at the TandT have for readers when they treat a non-news story in that way.

Page 2 has a big story that pharmacists will soon be permitted to prescribe treatments for minor ailments. But we had this story some time ago. Anyway, the meat of the story is that some professional people are very much opposed to this. Either the headline or the sub head should reflect that.

Yesterday, there was a big story that we were all invited to a tour of the Coliseum to give our suggestions as to its future use. The article also discussed future use ideas for the Coliseum. An eager crowd of twenty attended (though it doesn't look like that many in the photo.)

This nothing event took up two-thirds of a page which repeated most of what yesterday's story said.

Then there's almost a full page, with two photos, to tell us that home-based businesses stay busy in Riverview. Is that different from anywhere else in the world? I have no idea. Neither does the TandT. So why is this a story?

P.A10 has big story that a teen dance is planned for Dieppe. This isn't a news story. This is what is called an ad.

And that's it for a section is always trivial, often repetitive, and always a waste of time. This is really sloppy and lazy journalism.
In NewsToday, The Associated Press contributes an intelligently written and fair-minded story on what is happening in Ukraine. What is particularly interesting about it is its report on rumours of Russian and Ukrainian troops firing on each other - with several dead.

I was listening report of that shooting, shortly after it happened. The news report was within minutes of the shooting, so the US government learned about it not much earlier than me.

The immediate response of the US government, so immediate it is not possibly there was any check, was that the Russian army had started it. The Associated Press and other agencies were much more cautious. They say they don't know who started the shooting. In fact, they don't even know who did it.

It may have been troops from either side. It may have been civilian militia of either side. It may have been unknown snipers acting as agents provocateurs.

But the immediate US response, without any checking, was 'the Russians did it.' That is damned irresponsible talk for diplomats handling a situation that could go nuclear. And it has been a characteristic of US responses from the start - accusations and threats of force.

Putin may well be ruthless. I have no doubt he is. But compared to people on the US side, he has been remarkably cool and statesmanlike and, certainly, more honest.

He also seems to be far the commonly quoted leader on this. And that raises a question that has bothered me from the start. Where is Obama? We have seen and heard almost nothing of him. Most of the American press quotations appear to come from Secretary of State Kerry. It is, to say the least, very unusual for a national leader to simply disappear at a time like this.

Oh, yes. Great threat number one, the sanctions, has not worked. Instead of collapsing, the Russian stock market rose. The Irving press does not seem to know about that.

Perhaps the most interesting point in all this is that the Russian economic system is now the same as that of the US and Canada. It is not communist. Economically, it is led by a band of capitalists who are making the poor poorer while making themselves richer. It is exactly like our system.

Remember how we were all taught to hate them because they were communists? It was very similar to the way we are now taught to hate Moslems.

In fact, communism vs. capitalism has nothing to do with it. It is two groups of very, very wealthy people, each looking for control of world trade. And for that matter, capitalism has nothing to do with it either since neither we nor the Russians have a system that even resembles capitalism. What we all have is a corporate welfare system, operated with no motive other than greed, and operated in a manner certain to destroy itself.

Excellent column by Alec Bruce on a plan to build a memorial column on the Cape Breton Trail to our fallen soldiers. It would be better, as he says, to spend that money on help for those who returned. And for no cost at all, Harper could explain to our veterans what it was they fought for. He could start on May 9, when he welcomes home the last of the Afghanistan vets who risked their lives for........???

The op ed page has an article on how safe it is to allow Irving to cut down more trees, and in more delicate locations. You can have confidence in this one. It was written by the Chief Forestry Officer for J.D.Irving Ltd.

News you may have missed. (Certainly the Irving Press missed it).

1. The Guardian reported on March 14 that the US was severely criticized by the UN Human Rights committee for keeping prisoners illegally at Guantanamo (and for their treatment), drone strikes that have killed mostly civilians  (and are illegal, anyway), surveillance by secret police with broad and  illegal powers, the world's highest rate of imprisonment, the death penalty, gun violence, racial inequality, torture, segregation in schools, and racial profiling by police. It also pointed out that of those on death row, 144 have avoided death because they were proven innocent while on death row. That suggests a certain sloppiness in the justice system.

It also makes one wonder how many people were executed because they weren't on death row long enough to prove their innocence, or couldn't afford good lawyers.

2.In Venezuela, the US is up to its old game of destroying an elected government. It is supporting the middle class and the rich against the majority of Venezuelans. It is common in Latin America to see the better (richer and generally whiter) sort of people being accustomed to rule and to receiving US support. It's happening again. (That's called interfering in the integrity and internal affairs of another state, and it's illegal when most countries do it. But it's quite legal for the US).

Anyway, Venezuela has oil.

3. Harper goes to Ukraine soon. Watch for the sort of grandiose speech complete with promises of support forever that he gave in Israel. In fact, Canada is in no position for provide such support for anybody.

It's  hard to realize that the name of Canada once had a high standing in the world of diplomacy. We were profoundly respected for our defusing of crises. Now all we do is send out a buffoon with tax payers' money to give wild and inflammatory speeches to get himself re-elected.

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