Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nov. 21: Despite the date of this one...... might appear on Nov. 20. I've just published the Nov.20 blog, but found I never got to the TandT in it. Instead, I dealt with the case of the Canadian couple who got $950,000 for having a baby in a US hospital. I think it's a story that deserves far more attention than it has received - particularly since we now have a federal government that would love to privatize medicare, and a provincial one that seems to think it's a business.

And I humbly apologize to the editors of the TandT. They did have a short story on the million dollar baby.
For Wednesday, Nov. 19, the news in section A is the usual navel-gazing and triviality. Just one story is intriguing. it's on A3 "Bay store coming down".  And there's a surprise in it.

It seems that the province has been testing the land at Highfield Square, and finds only very minor pollution. So it won't be necessary to truck it away. What's surprising about that?

Well, that land was a railway yard for many years that were the really dirty years of railroading. Back when the "events centre"  hockey rink for people who should be able to pay for their own rink was first proposed, I remember well reading that the polluted soil would have to be trucked away. I even checked with the provincial government to make sure of that. And it was confirmed.

So, all of a sudden, there's no problem. Oh. So all those stories about magic fairies like Tinkerbelle must be true. This story is by Brent Mazerolle. Brent - learn to ask questions; learn to check things out. You are a reporter, not a stenographer.

The editorial, as usual, is about money. Specifically, it's about Dieppe and other municipalities who should hold the line on taxes. There's not a word about what these municipalities and their residents need, not a word about what the money should be spent on - just that the spending be held where it is.

I don't' know which of the editorial twits writes those editorials. But they are never about human beings or about what municipalities are, and what it  is they should be doing. It's in a class with this eternal idiocy about how the new hockey rink will bring hordes of shoppers to downtown. (And I'm sure the editorial writer would find it good to raise taxes for that.)

Alec Bruce has a good one that raises questions about Harper's refusal to take any action on the reduction of greenhouse gasses. Harper knows better than all world's experts and better than the UN committee on climate change. He's betting the whole show on the oil sands. I cannot think of a prime minister in all of Canadian history who has been so short-sighted, so narrow, so pig-headed and,for all of us in this world, so murderous.

Nothing else on the editorial or op ed pages is worth reading.
NewsToday? Well, it has the same problems as always. It's difficult to get meaning out of the news unless you have some pretty good analysis. But there's no analysis at all. And the stories we do get are often more propaganda than news. B4, for example, has a story about Ukraine. But it's loaded in favour of "our side" and, anyway, almost meaningless to the average reader. You have to check a lot of sources to make any sense out of most of these news stories.

For example, why is the US concerned about Ukraine? Because it wants to spread freedom and democracy? Bunk. The US has created dictatorships and and killed democracies all over the world.

What does Ukraine want? Well, it's flat broke and hopelessly in debt, much of which it owes to Russia. People of east Ukraine want the right to live in Russian. Kyiv won't allow that. Western Ukraine has a long history of profound racism and brutality, against Jews and Russians - which it now aims at eastern Ukraine.

Putin has watched US agents set up rebellion and a coup against the elected government of Ukraine. He now faces humiliation if he allows the massacres of Russian-speaking Ukrainians to continue, and he faces the danger of US nuclear missiles being placed within minutes of Moscow.

On the same page, Putin says the US wants to subdue Russia. Of course, it does. American big business intends to dominate the world. That means Russia and China have to be knocked off, and soon.

And why is the European Union following the US? Because it's made up of largely failed empires and failing economies; so they have to ride on the coattails of the US.

Tough times for Harper. He acts as a puppy for Obama, and pretends that the US is Canada's best friend. But he knows that, for all Harper's visits to the Arctic and the discovery of a Franklin ship, the US openly flouts our claims to that region. If the Russians or the Chinese did it, you'd find the story all over the Irving press. But it's the U.S., our good friends. The people who buy and control American governments are not even friends of Americans, let along Canadians.

But the Irving press never mentions that.
Thursday - big, page one headline "Graham regrets failed NB Power deal".

Who could possibly give a damn?

The front page also has another pitch for the new hockey rink (let's call it what it is meant to be). It's disguised as a story about how the hockey rink will make downtown a retail hub. Right.

But there's also an excellent report "RCMP in crisis, says retired officer". (A8)  Despite the headline, that's not quite what it's about. It's really about the spread of PTSD among police officers. The numbers are very, very high. This is a story well worth reading, and thinking about.

Energy East Pipeline has hired the biggest PR company in the world to sell on the wonders of oil pipelines, and to convince us that the majority of us, by far, just love pipelines. Plan to get swamped with these and, probably, with propaganda news stories about how good oil is for us. For a start, page A9 has a game ad "Find the ten items in this picture made with oil". oo--oo-ooh.

But don't get too excited yet. There's an even bigger, full page picture on A11. This one is a woman (all the ads seem to be one woman - or men and women in exactly equal numbers. Her name's Rebekah, and she's passionate about protecting the environment. It seems they don't really lay pipelines at all. What they actually do is environmental protection. Yeah..... Get used to it.

Oh, yeah -and remember - if they lay such a pipeline then they won't be closing it anytime soon. It will be in use for decades, sending even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere

On editorial and op ed pages, the only items worth looking at are the de Adder cartoon, and Beth Lyons' column on an aspect of the treatment of women. This is not just "woman" stuff. It's about a very widely spread problem that has caused enormous suffering in our society.

Alec Bruce and Norbert both write on economic crisis.Again. And again, neither mentions the role of big business in creating and worsening this crisis. Norbert, for example, blames the politicians. Come off it, Norbert. Even you must know that both the Liberals and Conservatives are puppets of big money. If any society is going to solve what is now a world crisis, it will have to deal with somehow putting a leash on the mad dogs we call "business leaders" and "philanthropists".

Rod Allen's column is called "City Views". I have no idea why. I have no idea why he is allowed to write a column at all. I have no idea how he could become an editor. It certainly cannot be his laboured wit. I can only guess it must be because of this profound self-esteem.
There's not much to say about NewsToday. Well, there's a story about Putin on page B3. It's "Putin cool to U.S. envoy".  It's from The Associated Press, and it makes a real attempt to be honest and impartial. That's a real change.

There's a story on B4 about an American general who says that the momentum of ISIL has been 'halted'. But that really means nothing because he adds that this war could take years. The more interesting story is one that the editors of the TandT haven't yet noticed.

The civil war in Syria is one that began when the US, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Turkey.....financed and supplied the "rebels" (who are mostly mercenaries.)  The reason we were given as that Assad is a dictator -as if the US cares. As if Saudi Arabia, the world's most severe dictatorship, cares. The real reason was the danger of Assad allowing China and Russia to trade more widely in the middle east.

But it backfired. The so-called "rebels" were largely what the us would call terrorists if they were on the other side and, increasingly, they are "extremist" Muslims.(Americans and British who killed over a million Iraqi men, women and children were not extremists. They were heroes.) Extremists became the huge movement now called ISIL. In short, ISIL was created largely by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Their power is based on their intolerant religious views, views which are themselves the creation of a century and more of western interference and abuse.

Now, Assad's Syria has a wide tolerance for religious views. In fact, Assad has taken in far more refugee Christians than the US or Canada has - and this in the middle of an intense war.

ISIL seemed attractive as a device for the west to make arab states dysfunctional. What it has done is to create the basis for an Islamic super-state. Fighting ISIL will not make arabic muslims any more friendly to the west. Indeed, the record of the west (especially of the US) in such wars has been dismal for a very long time.

Assad has an army that has proven itself pretty competent. Assad leads a country that is largely secular. Assad is bad for the US because he wants to trade with Russia and China. But -ISIL could be - almost certainly will be - much worse.

That's why there is discreet talk of the US shifting its military aid to Assad.

Or it might hold out in hope ISIL leading to a vast civil war of Muslim against Muslim, thereby destroying most of the arab states.

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