Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 28: TandT misses story of the year! August 27 was my birthday.

Otherwise, it was a very ordinary day for the Irving press. Section A had nothing in it. Typical was a front page story that Moncton returning offices are ready for early-bird voters. Well, yeah. They're supposed to be. It they aren't, then that's a story. But if they are ready, what's the story?

World news amounted to two and a half pages.- and half of it Canadian. But at least the world seemed to be headed for better times  with peace initiatives in the Middle East and in Ukraine. (More on that later.)
The only jarring note came on C10, when Harper blustered about dealing with any Russian threat to the Arctic.It was a bizarre speech. "As we look at the world........we see---the growing strength of people who disdain democracy..... People who...would destroy everything that Canadians hold dear, and have repeatedly fought to protect."

What a crock!
1. Canada could not possibly defend the Arctic against an attack by Russia. We don't have the troops, the ships or the air force to do it.

2. The nation that has most threatened our claim to the Arctic is not Russia. It is the US. It routinely refuses to recognize Canadian sovereignty over the region.

3. The US would certainly defend Canada against a Russian attack (it would have to).    But the price would be high. We'd have to hand the keys to the Arctic to the US.

4. As for the stuff about defending our freedom, only one country has ever threatened our freedom. Has Harper already forgotten his celebration of the War of 1812? And he has obviously forgotten the Fenian raids just after the US civil war, and the US  threats of invasion into the twentieth century..

5. For that matter, who are Harper's imaginary heroes who love democracy? Certainly, it's not the US or Germany or Britain or any of our other allies. It was the guys on our side who supported dictatorship in The Phillipines, South Korea, all over Latin America, - it was the British Empire that denied freedom to millions all over the world, the British and Americans who supported the dictatorship of Chiang Kai-Shek in China, who helped to overthrow the Egyptian attempt at democracy, the Americans who overthrew democratic governments in Guatemala and Haiti....

These speeches of our love for democracy are pure drivel. It is true that some Canadians who fought in Wars one and two did it to save democracy - but neither war was fought to preserve democracy. But not to worry. We and the US are doing a fine job of destroying our democracies without outside help.

Harper is a great one for blustering and shaking his fist. But it's all for votes. he never does anything. Remember his famous trip to Israel and his stirring speeches? But he hasn't done anything. He also promises help to refugees, but never delivers. In a recent case, he is deporting a Tunisian woman back to the chaos of her homeland when, as a Christian, she stands an excellent chance of being murdered.

The editorial and op ed pages are pretty lightweight stuff. It's obvious that Norbert has still read only one book on economics, the one chosen by Mr. Irving. There's crunch coming. So make the poor pay. It's the old story. Let the rich get very, every rich, then all that wealth will filter down to us.

Like hell it will. It never has. It if did Americans would be rolling in prosperity. Instead, a third of all Americans are living on food stamps. No recession has even been solved by making the poor poorer and the rich richer.

So far, all the politicians and pundits are missing what should be the key issues in this election.

1. How do we restore democracy in this province so that the people really do control it?
2. How to we get the very rich out of their dominant and abusive role in the politics of this province.
3. How do we get out of the mess we have created with free trade deals that enable the very rich to exploit poverty and dictatorship in other  countries, to ignore environmental regulations as part of the process, and to avoid paying their share of taxes?
And, oh, what a change (almost)  in Friday's paper!

Section A is still one that would stun a moose in heat.But NewsToday has the story of a nine-year old girl in Arizona who accidentally shot and killed a shooting range employee. He was teaching the girl - nine years old - to shoot an Uzi submachine gun, a type of gun that is difficult for a trained adult shooter to shoot. Luckily for minister of Justice Peter Mackay, press time came too early to fit in to fit in a photo of him wearing a gun nut sweater at the request of a quite extreme Canadian gun group. Smooth move, Peter.

The gun group claims Canadians have a right to have any guns they want. Actually, they don't. No such right exists.

Otherwise, there was almost no news in NewsToday. The world, it seemed. was stabilizing with Russia and Ukraine close to a deal, Israel and Gaza in a cease fire.  But, again, that may just have been the paper went to press a bit early.

The reality is the Russia/Ukraine war is back on - and much more dangerous. The US seems close to committing troops to fight ISIS in Syria. Assad, our ruthless and vicious enemy in Syria is now, it seems, a great guy. There may also be US troops in Iraq to fight Isis  (which is financed by our good friends in Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates who also help the US to finance Al Quaeda which is now, it seems, a bunch of great guys because they're fighting ISIS. And if the US army gets involved in Syria, it will probably use the opportunity to get Assad, and to destroy Syria as a nation. ISIS may also try at least a partial conquest of Turkey using the money it get from its good friends in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates who are also good friends of Turkey.)

It will take a while to sort this out. But, meanwhile, it's a powerful lesson of a great truth. There are no such things as countries that are friends.

It's also possible that Putin is getting more aggressive because he sees the US getting horribly entangled in a mess of its own making.

Editorial and op ed have two, excellent columns by Alec Bruce and Beth Lyons.
The editorial uses the Tim Horton and Burger King story to demonstrate that Moncton is the cheapest city in all Canada to do business in, and says we should lower business taxes even more.

Gee, if we have one of the best investment climates in the world, how come we aren't rich? And how willl making ourselves even poorer make us richer? This is a really dumb editorial.

Rod Allan writes yet another column that screams, "I'm a witty and much-loved guy."
Now let's take a shot at comments that are too long for a blog. But I'll  try a shot at the general idea, and see if it strikes any reader.

When Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he created one hell of a mess. He set off a string of western conquests that destroyed any society they touched. It destroyed the foundations of society - economics, customs, values, religious beliefs. It dragged millions into slavery,adding another level of destruction.

It doesn't take huge changes in a society to trigger a change. When Quebec was conquered by the British, the French turned to the only institution they  had left, the Roman Catholic church. (Despite what some history books say, the French of Quebec were not particularly devout in colonial days.) Then, for some 200 years, it became so dominant in the province that no legislative bill would be declared valid until the bishops approved it.

Nor is the adjustment over yet. The rise of separatism was exactly like the rise of the church - only this time focussed on language. And Quebec is still socially and politically confused. And that is now some 250 years after the experience.

For native peoples across the Americas this is still the case.- though 1492 was a long, long time ago.

Obviously, Harper has not grasped that problem; nor have our news media. After all these years, we are nowhere even close to finding a solution (or solutions.)
African-American slaves had the same sort of problem. It's still there - as we saw in Ferguson, Missouri.

Western empires did the same sort of deep and lasting damage all over the world. And to that damage the west added murder, starvation, brutality, exploitation, humiliation. Don't kid yourself it was all just like Rudyard Kipling said.

Our news media, generally, protect us from seeing that. They call some Muslems terrorists, implying that it's something racial - as if they're born evil. They are not. The are reacting to the terrible experience of seeing all of their beliefs and values destroyed. They are also reacting to massive doses of terror and abuse and murder inflicted on them by the west. (When it comes to terrorism, nobody does as much of it as our side.)

And it's made worse by a rapacious capitalism that is without any moral standards, and has seized control of western governments, including ours.

These are problems that are not going to go away unless we get realistic in dealing with them. That's why we should have a sociological investigation of the murder of Tina Foley, and what it was that created her world. That would be much more useful than sending paramilitaries  wearing camouflage and carrying combat rifles to threaten people.

Meanwhile, we are doing the world no good when we interfere with their governments and the way they want to run their own countries.


  1. Her name is Tina Fontaine.

    1. Thanks. (It's been one of those truly awful days. Sometimes I was afraid I was going to die - and sometimes I was afraid I wasn't going to die.

  2. Some interesting reading for you :

  3. thanks for the article - but I certainly would not believe. The style heavily prejudicial and insinuating. The plot is absurd. And far from Assad starting a rebellion, the rebels were financed from the start by the US, Saudi Arabia. The intended purpose was to shatter Syria into several, minor countries. I note another article is on the value of humanitarian attacks. That's nonsense. Nobody attacks anybody for humanitarian reasons. that's "these people need help. So I'll bomb them." It's hard to find even one invasion by anybody that was done for humanitarian reasons.

    So Assad is brutal, murderous, corrupt, etc. Quite possibly. So is the US. So are most countries.