Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2: A page 1 story and headline that make sense!

A plant that incinerated medical waste in this city has suffered a "devastating" fire. The headline tells us that this poses no environmental danger for us. Okay. That's an important story, and the headline focuses on what it means to us. That's a real, front-page headline story.

And that's pretty much it for Monday.

Well, editorial cartoonist Adder has a pretty good one of Harper listening as one of his cronies reads a newspaper sentence to him. "An open and fair opportunity giving Canadians a reasonable chance to make an informed opinion about each of the candidates."

The crony adds, "There's a political strategy we haven't tried yet."

Good one. But it's the only star in the editorial/oped sky.

Half of the editorial is about the weather. The other is about the Frye Festival - which would, more suitably, be a news item. Of the rest of the editorial, much is not about Frye at all. It's the old obsession with how this festival "brands" Moncton and makes it a centre of world attention - just like the concerts at Magnetic Hill.

Norbert writes a confusing column about young girls and women running off to join ISIS. Um-m-m. Norbert, it's not as if they're flooding our streets and heading to the airport. Far more young women, far, far more get drawn into the sex trade in this, our Christian, world. (And Norbert admits that.)

The point of his column seems to be is the girls who run to join ISIS are all the fault of their parents though he presents no evidence for that.

A more likely problem is that our children are growing up in a world of intense and unreasoning fear, hatred, ignorance and uncertainty. And all of those are encouraged by news media like the Irving press.

Didn't get enough about the weather in the editorial? Then you'll love the commentaries. All three, ALL, are about the cold and the snow. None of them has anything significant to say about them. The person who allowed them to do that and  allowed it to be printed is the commentary editor - who specializes, himself, in a weekly column that says nothing whatever.

That's not an accident. The Irving press has two roles as a news medium. One is to spread propaganda for big business. The other is to keep New Brunswickers - how shall I put it? - ignorant.
In Canada&World, the biggest story of the day didn't make top spot in today's TandT. That was saved for an even bigger story that's a pitch for shale gas. The head of orridor says, roughly,  we must develop shale gas in NB or the province will die and the whole world will suffer. Apparently, it doesn't matter if it destroys the local environment and contributes to climate change (I mean, what do scientists know? You want to learn what you need to learn? Ask an oil executive.) Yep. We have to end that silly moratorium right now.

The other big story is an important one, particularly from a local perspective. UNB scientists are playing a major role in understanding storms that occur in space - and which can create serious problems on earth. And it's okay to report that because only scientists who talk about climate change are stupid.

This is a 'feel good' story. But it's also a deserving one. Good for UNB.

In the rest of the world, the big story is the murder of former Russian opposition leader Boris Nemstov. But before I can talk about that, I have to tell a little vignette. Bear with me. It's actually important.

When I was very, very young (and a darling little child), I was in love with Vera Lynn. She was a British singer who was the darling of the western, allied armies. Her voice was magnificent. And I'm still in love with her. You can get her on Youtube. One of her greatest and most inspiring songs was " There'll always be an England".

There'll always be an England
And England will be free
As long as England means to you
What England means to me.

(Oh, you really have to see this and hear it on Youtube. It still gives me goose pimples when I hear it.)

But read those lyrics again. So you see the irony in them?

"And England will be free"

This magnificent hymn to freedom was to England - the country that had destroyed freedom for more people and more countries than any other country in history. And it kept killing people who wanted freedom for years after the war, with fighting in Africa and Asia.

There's a thrill to this day in hearing her sing, and a thrill in her call for freedom - even though none of the leading powers have ever been interested in spreading freedom. To this day, the British Empire rouses echoes of glory -but not of any reality. We think of glory,  not the uncounted hundreds of thousands and probably more who died, not of the looting and impoverishing of countries, the destruction of cultures. No, it's glory, glory, glory all the glittering way, ("The town was mad, A man was like a boy... the person who guesses the name of the poet who wrote that should be reading better poets.)

The same is true of God Bless America. The US record of murder (and torture and looting and destruction of freedom) has surpassed even that of Britain. In fact, the only times Canadian have had to stand on guard for thee were the American invasion of 1812, and the American-sponsored Fenian raids of the 1860s. To this day, the only country that ignores Canadian title to the Northwest Passage is the US. But we "just pretend" that isn't happening.

Most people at least have heard of these things. But they seem to let them rest in tiny, locked rooms in their brains.

And that takes us to the murder of Boris Nemstov and to Putin.  If you follow most western news stories about it, and there's no doubt about. . Putin had Nemrov murdered. Read the associated press story in today's TandT. The news media have no evidence whatever. But - o-o-o-oh. it was that awful Putin.

Both Obama and Kerry demanded an immediate investigation, and certainly implied it was an inside job.
(We'll pass lightly over the fact that it's almost unheard of for leaders of one country to make any such demand of another country. It's highly insulting to do so and, I suspect, deliberately insulting. Can you imagine Harper's tizzy fit if Putin were to make such a demand of him?  But we don't see it when our side does it to somebody else.)

Well, like anybody else who's telling the truth, I have no idea who the killers were. So let's get back to Vera Lynn and the irony of "and England will be free".)

Vera Lynn sang of freedom for an England that had usually destroyed freedom. The US sings of its gift to the world of freedom, when, in practice, it destroy freedom almost wherever it goes.  (Anyway,  the US is not the world's first republic. It's, at best, fourth, with the oldest one more than a thousand years older than the US.)

Every day, the president of the United States approves a list of people all over the world, including some American citizens, are to be killed by drones (which commonly also kill children all  and quite innocent people all over the world.) There's also the killing list for special ops which work in many more countries, including most of South America. Obama is also the man who has so far failed to make any investigation or to lay charges for all the illegal torturing and killing during his terms and before. Compared to Obama, Putin is a softy.

"And England will be free..."

I don't know nearly enough to even guess who the killers were working for. But I do have trouble understanding Putin's motive for such a killing. Nemstov was no longer opposition leader. He was a declining figure in Russian politics. His day was over. Why bother killing him?

 Thousands in Moscow mourned him? Yep. But Putin has skyrocketing support in the polls at 80%. The opposition is split and, even in total , then, is only 20%. Nemstov was no threat.

Oh, and Nemtsov was killed right in front of the Kremlin. Way to keep a low profile, Putin.

Putin is cold and ruthless. So is Obama, who has a record of slaughter to prove it. Maybe Putin did it - but I don't see a motive, and letting it happen at Putin's front door seems---careless.

On balance, the only leader who gains from this killing is Obama. It creates confusion in Russia and, with the help of cooperative news media, it reassures the west that we are fighting evil people, people who aren't good, like us, not at all.

It also gives Obama a chance to provoke a crisis in Russia, perhaps to ruin the Kyiv truce talks  (which Obama never wanted in the first place), perhaps to scare Russia into accepting a dominance of American billionaires in the Russian economy.

And just to kick the can a little, he and Kerry both give public statements that might, if Putin doesn't back down, provide an excuse to go to war against Russia.

I think a lot of people in the European Union (who are more realistic than we are) are now very nervous.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know who killed Nemstov either, but I certainly think Putin had motive. Even if Nemstov's political career was over (which it may or may not have been), he was just too darned vocal.

    There are a lot of people in Russia that don't like Putin (80% approval rate in the polls), which ones, and can they be trusted to be truthful. It has been said that the elections are rigged, in Russia, but I have heard that about the U.S. elections too. And Canadian.

    There was just something about that demonstration and the # we are not afraid, that says that a lot of people in Russia are very much afraid, not of any retaliation, but of the cold-blooded execution of politicians. You have to admit even by western standards that is a bit much.

    Oh, well I don't imagine that you will admit it, without a comparison to the U.S and Canada, but I guess politicians behave badly in all kinds of ways.