Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8: Too much.....

I curse myself for writing this on a Sunday evening when I could be doing something more useful like dozing in the sun on the balcony. It's just that I have too much on my  mind.

Saturday's edition of the Times and Transcript was appalling. It was written with the style and empty-headed sensationalism of one of the magazines at the supermarket that has headlines like "Advisers shocked as Obama and Putin embrace, kiss on meeting".

We were given a picture of a city in terror - and were reassured by the mayor and business leaders that it would survive. Come off it! That sort of gush was not only the news; it was most of the opinion columns. The editorial was probably the worst of  all for mindless gush. Moncton will rise again!

1. We had one rifleman. Lots of cities around the world suffer (often at the hands of the west) from thousands of crazy riflemen. bombers, poison gas, machine guns and rockets - and they suffer it for years. After the mess we made of Iraq, dozens in that country are killed almost every day. In world war 2, London suffered massive attacks by bombers and rockets. Thousands died. But London was still a pretty lively place last time I saw it.

Contrary to the Tand T image of a city in terror, Monctonians acted well. Some institutions were closed - and very sensibly so. Some people, I'm sure, were in fear - and with good reason if they lived in the search zone. Most stayed indoors - very sensible - but there was scarcely the hysteria and imminent collapse of the city as suggested in the TandT.

The people of Moncton are a lot tougher than that.

The strongest display of emotion I saw was the grief at the RCMP station where flowers and candles had been placed. These were not frightened people. The grief was for those who had been shot and their families.

And the grief was undoubtedly genuine - and something one be be proud of about Moncton. I know plenty of cities where the reaction would be either rioting or indifference.

2. The job of a reporter is to observe and to listen - yes. But even that was done without thought. A reporter also has to have a mind that asks questions, that gets to the information we need. In this, the paper utterly failed. It was so bad, I'm astonished professional editors would allow that mindless babble to go to print.

To get any information, I h ad to go to The Fifth Estate on CBC. (Get a look at it, Norbert. See what real reporting looks like.)

The gun, I am sure, is a rifle designed only for combat.  It has a large magazine capacity, and automatic operation. That's why he could kill so quickly. As well, I thought it had rather a large magazine - suggesting if might fire a bigger cartridge than the regular combat issue  - something that could penetrate light armour or a flak jacket.

CBC reporters were the only ones to ask how and where he got such a gun - and got at least some hint of where to start looking.

They also raised the question of why those police were sent out without a rifle. Pistols have a short range, are less accurate and, in any case, difficult to fire with any accuracy. (As a long time target shooter, I've had many any embarrassment with my pistol scores.)

CBC discovered that the police cars are not equipped with rifles. Now, that is news. And that is problem we have to address. Now.

The Irving papers are sloppy, at best, with propaganda, outright lies, and reporting and editing that are beneath contempt.

That's when it's good. Saturday was not a good day for journalism in this province - except for CBC.

As a footnote, the city officials, the police and other agencies seem to have handled the situation very well, with effectiveness but without panic.

While browsing through various papers, I came across a statement by Harper (and many others have said)  that Russia is responsible  for the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s. (Russians evil so Putin evil, etc.) This was certainly a terrible period. The death toll, commonly wildly over-estimated, was still probably about  four or five million.

In fact, scholars don't know whether Stalin ordered it - though he was certainly capable of it. He killed a lot of Russians, too. So to blame Russia for something that might have been done by a dictator seems a little broad. But it's good for creating the hatreds that send people to war.


There was a very similar famine at the same time, and reaching into the 1940s. It was Bengal, India. It, too, killed about five million - and there is no question who ordered it. It was British governments under Chamberlain and and then Winston Churchill. And it was deliberate. In fact, India had a food surplus - but the British ordered it be exported to Britain though it was well known that Bengal was starving.

I"m sure it didn't bother Churchill at all. For all  his talents, he was a racist with a particular loathing for India.

Similarly, both Canada and the US forced starvation on native peoples as a form of genocide. Nobody knows the numbers who died.

Funny how you never hear western politicians talk about the butchery in India, Canada or the US.

The press of North America - and this is terribly noticeable over the past 40 years or so is dreadfully biased and hate mongering.

Ever notice that Moslems fighting against the West (often defending their own countries) are routinely called "extremists'?  The American government, which killed not only millions in Vietnam and Iraq is never called extremist. It also has killed unknown millions around the world - all over Africa, South America, Pakistan...mostly using "special forces"

Nope. Nuthin' extreme there.

Yesterday, Google news had a story it took from a wire service about how the new president of Ukraine was the hero of  the people of Ukraine.

Hey. The guy had just been sworn into office.    He hadn't done anything yet. And he can't be the hero of all the Ukraine. I mean, somebody is shooting at him.

Oh, it  has been revealed (though not much) that the British army has routinely practiced torture since 1939 - and probably long before that. It offers instruction in torture methods - but nothing is in writing.

God bless the Queen.

Okay. Now I can sleep.                                


  1. Hello Graeme
    I am trying to send you an e-mail but the address given on your blog site keeps being bounced back. It says "recipient does not have a account."
    Could you please give me your e-mail address via

  2. I'm sending the correct address to Noel Burke.
    Send me your address - and i'll send mine to you.
    Or - do we have acquaintances in common?