Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 20: Banner headline, page 1.....

"First-ever Rotary Ribfest promises finger-licking fun."

This is a day of ribs, chicken, soft drinks, beer and bands to raise money for Moncton Headstart, Moncton Youth Residencess  and other youth groups. All credit to those in and out of Rotary who contribute their time and work for this In no way do I criticize them. But there is surely something wrong with the government of a society that leaves such essential programmes to be provided by voluntary organizations.

A5 has a story on a similar theme, "NB social housing crisis is looming,..."  The federal government and others are cutting off funding to provide decent housing for those who can't afford it - and the supply of such housing is dwindling.

This is an example of governments whose idea of government is to balance the budget - and pay for expensive trips for the prime minister to Israel and Ukraine just before election time. A government is NOT a business. It does NOT exist to make a profit. A government's function is to determine the needs of its people and to meet them.

Obviously, you need money to meet those needs. But you do that first by determining what the needs are, then by cutting out spending on projects like sending the PM and 300 friends to Israel, and giving handouts and tax beaks to corporations.

A6 has a whole page of pictures of The Rocks for any Monctonian who has never seen them. And A8 and A9 has two, whole pages of pictures - you know - him and her. She looking as if she just adores children. And he looking as if he's wondering where the washroom might be.
The lead story, "Premiers to look at '60s Scoop adoptions". This is a story that is overdue. Back in the 1960s, some 20,000 native children were taken by welfare workers and put up for adoption. It was as bad as the residential schooling had been, with children removed from friends and family and, often, placed in brutal settings. I knew one who was placed with a very wealthy and caring family. It was still an ordeal from which he will never recover.

The provincial premiers are meeting to discuss apologies, counselling and, perhaps compensation. And that's all as it should be. But the essential step will still be missing. Let native peoples have control of their own lives. Let them make their own decisions. Let them have territory that is really their own. Let them decide, for example, whether to allow fracking on their land.

Because of military power we now live in an enormous land that was theirs.When we took it, we simply made them our prisoners in the concentration camps we call reserves. That calls for more than an apology or counselling or even compensation. We have to let native peoples really be their own masters.

Now- look at the story next to it. It's from The Associated Press, and it's "Putin orders troops to return to bases." Well, that seems like good news. And it makes sense. Putin is the one who has been working to avoid crisis from the start. Unlike western leaders, he hasn't threatened, and he has many times attempted to find a settlement.

His one, aggressive move was to take control of the Crimea. But that was an eminently sensible reaction to what looked very much like a western coup of the government of Ukraine - and he had a major naval base in Crimea under a long term lease.

As well, there is no reason whatever why Putin should want the failed state that is Ukraine. There is nothing to be gained from it, especially when what looks at the odds in a Russia/West war with the massive western lead in military equipment, and it's superior numbers - not to mention the risk of global nuclear war.

I know Putin's a Russian and he's evil because all Russians used to be communists and they were all evil - unlike us. The idea of pulling back troops to ease tensions  makes sense for Russia. And, indeed, I can imagine no other reason for it. Now, read the first sentence of the report.

In what "could" be an attempt to ease tensions......

Could? Why express doubt? If Obama or Kerry had made such a statement, the word 'could' would never have appeared. Read on....

"This seemingly conciliatory approach suggested that Putin may believe he has achieved his key goal  of maintaining Russian influence over Eastern Ukraine without having to send in Russia troops."

Ah, his approach is only "seemingly" conciliatory.  It's all really a fake.

And his "key" objective was to maintain Russian influence over Eastern Ukraine?  Oh? And where did that information come from? And how does he maintain Russian influence by pulling his troops back? So far, in fact, he has discouraged the pro-Russian factions. That's an odd way to maintain influence.

This isn't reporting, This is opinion. And it's not really opinion. It's propaganda. And that goes on throughout the article. When Russia holds air exercises over its own territory, it's provocative and dangerous. When the US sends warships to patrol off a Russian port, though, there's no comment.

Further down, Putin did develop some peace plans - but this was "only under western pressure."'

That's the kind of propaganda called news that is almost uniform across North America. The news media have bought into it all the way.

Yes, I think somebody does want a war. But his name isn't Putin. I'm not even sure it's Obama. He has certainly made himself scarce through all this. But all the signs are that people of great influence in the US  have decided this is the time to take a giant step to world dominance.

C4 has a similar sort of story - but worse. "Syrian death toll exceeds 160,000, say activists.

What the hell is 'activists' supposed to mean? Who are they? And who are the inactivists? Well, in this case, 'activists' means a small group of rebels backed by American and Saudi money and weapons ( and other help), along with mercenaries  (which our news media refer to as Moslem terrorists when they're fighting us).

In particular, this death toll information comes from an organization called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It reflects the bias of a Syrian haberdasher in Britain who favours the rebel side. They set the death toll in the war at 162,000.

The UN gave up keeping count because it just doesn't have the expertise and staff to conduct such a count. But a highly prejudiced British haberdasher does; so we can trust him. And this is the kind of source our news media quote as an authority, without even bothering to tell us what it really is.

The reality is nobody has a clue how many have been killed. Figures on war dead are almost always wrong, and often (deliberately) under-estimated. In Syria, people die of hunger and of sickness untreatable because of war conditions. But they don't get counted as war dead.

And who bothers to count the orphans, the crippled, the impoverished.......

The reality is that this is a war made possible only by the US and Saudi Arabia, neither of which has ever been threatened by Syria. The purpose of the war is to destroy Syria as a nation, probably to break it up into tiny states.

The editorials in the TandT never lie. They're just simple-minded. In today's, they deal with the heavy  topic of the Treitz House, now a tourism office by the river. But the office is moving out. The editors think something should be done to preserve it. (It was built in the eighteenth century.) And they know just what to do.

Form a Public/Private/Partnership, and make it into a coffee house.  Or something.

Yeah. I can see all now - like a vision. Just hand it over to business, and it's problem solved.

Norbert does a good job on a book which is essentially racist. That's not a subject to be taken lightly, something from our dark past that can now be forgotten. The world is as racist as it has ever been, with much of that racism taught to us by our news media who have spent a century and more teaching us who to hate.

Alec Bruce tries something quite different, a sort of parable. But it has more than a few holes in it.

It's about a New Brunswick of the near future, broke and into receivership.

Curiously, Bruce creates the NDP as the party in power at the time of bankruptcy. ..mmmmmmm....Mr. Bruce, the NDP has never been in power in New Brunswick. Not ever. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, was the party that ran us into debt the NDP. It (yes, really just one) was called Liberal or Conservative.

Nor is there any mention of big business in this province which, with neglect of taxes, with business freebies and assorted favours has been driving us into severe debt - without, so far as I know, any help from the NDP.

So why pick the NDP as the party that will drive us broke? In fact, the man  who declared himself to be in coalition with the government, who freely gave advice on the budget and who, in fact, appointed the government's current budget advisors is a Mr. Irving.

Wouldn't it make more sense to blame him?

Alan Cochrane has a pretty lightweight piece on recycling. Perhaps he's dumbing down in hopes of becoming the editorial writer.

Paricia Graham, the ombudsman for Irving press, has a remarkably useless column on op ed. And her tone is that of someone who sees editors as providing the answers. That's not a good start for an ombudsman.

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