Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dec. 18: "As a father, your heart just breaks to hear this kind of thing"

On P. B4 of the Dec. 18 TandT, these are the worlds of Stephen Harper in reaction to a Taliban attack on a school in Pakistan that killed 131 children. He is quoted - "It's hard enough to understand the motives that underlie a terrorist attack. but even more so when the targets are innocent  the name of some political cause to  hurt, kill innocent people.....As a father, your heart just breaks when you hear this kind of thing."

Very moving words from a self-righteous liar.

The attack was certainly terrible. But all of us, including Harper, have been killing mostly innocent people and children by the tens of millions ever since 1914. What does he think the fire-bombing of Tokyo was about? the use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Hagasaki? The demolition of whole cities in Cambodia? The carpet bombing of Vietnam with napalm that burned people alive, the use of agent Orange that still takes a heavy toll in that country? Did  you know that some 400,000 children were killed in Vietnam? Well over a million in Vietnam? Remember the 300,000 men, women and children murdered in cold blood by the CIA in Guatemala in the 70s?

Do you know, Stevie, what terrorism means? (ditto for all  you reporters and editors who rushed this story into print - but have yet to mention the recent attack by a US drone, also in Pakistan, on a school, leaving 60 children dead? Didn't your little heart break on that one?  Or is it terrorism only when the other side does it?)

Most of our news media didn't carry the story about the American drone. I got it from a British news source that is independent, and has a high reputation among good newspapers like The Guardian. It's called The Bureau of Investigation. It has won prestigious awards for its work. So I doubt whether Stephen Harper or the Irving press has ever heard of it.

The TandT carried two, big stories in two days on the Taliban killings. It has never mentioned the child killing carried out by our side. Nor has it ever used the world "terrorist" to describe the actions of a western country.

Yes, what the Taliban did was terrible. And it should be reported.  And what we have done for the last century is terrible. And it should be reported. But it isn't.  Instead we get maudlin drivel from Harper that his heart is broken - which it isn't. He scrapped his heart years ago.

In a related story - which the Irving press has missed - early polls show that a majority of Americans agree that torture is necessary and justified. (If you had taken that poll a couple of  years ago,I suspect a majority would have said it wasn't justified. But now that we know our side does it , it must be justified. Sieg Heil. Today, we are all, on both sides, disciples of Adolf Hitler.)

What we were promised in World War Two, and what we needed, was some form of world government. The UN was supposed to be that. But the major powers of the time didn't really want that. That's why they gave themselves the veto power to make sure it would never work.

I couldn't find the big story that the state of New York has banned fracking despite claims that it has huge deposits of shale gas. But it has, indeed, banned fracking because there's too much evidence it's harmful, and too little that it's beneficial. The TandT, understandably, couldn't fit the story in because it needed the space for really big news. The Pizza Delight in Shediac is reopening after a closure caused by fire.

There's also no mention of the news that that US has imposed sanctions to cripple the economy of Venezuela.  That country's sin? It has refused to elect an American puppet government. Instead, it has chosen  a government a bit to the left to deal with serious problems of poverty.

It's actually quite a big story because Venezuela is just one of the major countries in South America that have had a bellyful of American dominance and exploitation. There was a time when that whole continent was a part of the American empire. But no more. The American empire is in serious trouble in what was its most secure region. That's why it has been so busy down there is American special ops, killer squads, and agents to stir up  trouble.
In a related story, Obama is making moves to mend relations with Cuba. And the North American press can't report even that without throwing in ignorance and propaganda. The Associated Press analysis (Dec. 18, p.3) says that Raul Castro has said Cuba is still committed to the communist ideals of the revolution. Than means, says the Associated Press that there will be no move to a free press or political democracy or capitalism.

I do wish the reporters would take the trouble to read the definition of the words capitalist and communist. The US is not capitalist in any true sense, and Cuba is not communist, whatever Castro might say. Nor does either system have any connection with democracy or a free press. The US does not have democracy or a free press now,  as both government and the press are owned by big business. But, then, it doesn't really have capitalism, either.

Alan Gross, the American who was freed from a Cuban prison as part of the deal , said it pained him to see how the Cuban government unjustly treated its people. He's being given quite the hero treatment in the American press, but.......
1. Gross was not arrested and jailed for jaywalking. He was in Cuba to set up a computer network that the US government could use to stir up unrest in the country. He was, in short, in a Cuba prison for much the same reason that released Cubans were in American prisons. They all deserved to be in prison.
2. He hated to see the people treated unjustly? Yes, among other things they must suffer from is getting free education all the way through university, and getting medicare from an excellent system. And if Gross gave a damn about how they were treated, then he might have said something about how they were treated when a US-appointed dictator ran Cuba. The people then lived in dreadful poverty, bled dry by American big business, and routinely tortured, raped, murdered by one the most brutal regimes ever known.  And the US gave the dictator medals for his good work.

And, oh, yes. There was no free press, no education, no medical care, no democracy. So how come Mr. Gross didn't feel bad for them then? And if he did feel bad for them, why was he working for the people who made it bad and wanted to make it worse?

The Irving press always has a lot of human interest stories. You know the type, "Dying grandmother to get motorcyle for Christmas." We actually have quite an interesting story now about a New Brunswicker. Dr. Cleary, the chief medical officer of N.B., has thrown herself into the work of treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. The work is dangerous and demanding. And it calls for a high degree of sacrifice and courage to do it.  I should think a newspaper would give us regular reports on that.

But there's been hardly a word.

Now, suppose an Irving were doing that.... No, don't. There's not the slightest possibility an Irving would do that. No. Start over. Suppose a prominent Irving were to hold an expensive evening supper where his wife could wear her latest dress and guests could say how lovely she looked in it....and it was to raise money for a new hall of fame for Irvings.... Would the Irving press cover it?

You bet, like fleas on a dog. So why not more attention to a doctor who is showing courage and dedication to a degree we rarely see?  Well, that might have something to do with a report she made that was critical of fracking. That, too, might be why Norbert heaps endless praise on  the propagandists at The Canadian School of Public Administration and Public Policy, and why the boss is pleased with Norbert's choice of topics.
There is still no news on Canada's role in CIA torture. And I guess there never will be.

A reader sent me a couple of excellent readings.
One is on the wealth gap, and it's a shocker.

The other is self-explanatory.

  Forget the TandT line that civil servants can't manage this, only big businessmen can. That like saying only hogs know how to eat corn. In fact, the Canadian economy was tightly controlled by civil servants in World War 2 and for a short time after. And it's generally agreed this was a period of the best economic management in Canada's history.
Interested in editorial and op ed pages? Then don't read the ones for Wednesday.

For Thursday, the editorial is on a topic the editorial writer is at least familiar with - bulk trash. Norbert is a waste of time. Alec Bruce is excellent on torture and, in this whole paper, he's been the only one to mention this huge story.

Rod Allen is boring and, to say the least,derivative. But it's still better than usual for him.

Beth Lyons has an interesting column on gender roles, and how they are reinforced at Christmas. But simply reversing the toys we give (like giving baby dolls to boys) isn't going to work. It might be a good project for a volunteer group to define those toys which should not be given at all, those that can usefully be given to either boys or girls. Then to look at those that might reasonably be gender-specific. I'm not sure we're ready for a whole population that is either cross-gendered or ungendered. This is a difficult question, and it really deserves a study group.                                                                                                                                          

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