Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 2: slim pickin's

Section A has only two stories that caught my attention. One was about the anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, the one theatre of war that was dominated by Canada. And Canada won it. It was an astonishing victory for a small country that, in 1939, had almost no navy at all. I read it because I remembered a neighbourhood kid who died in the sinking of an elderly destroyer named St. Croix, and a teenager from my father's scout troop who came to say goodbye and who let me hold his navy jack knife He came home, badly wounded on D Day when he was blown off the bridge of  HMCS Sackville. Then there was the day my father joined the navy.

Unfortunately, the story gave no sense of the importance of that battle, or of Canada's leading role in it. That battle made the survival of Britain possible; and it made D Day possible. And Canada won it.

Unfortunately is also has an error in its reference to HMCS St. Saguenay. There was no such ship because there was never such a saint.  It was HMCS Saguenay.

There is also what could have been an interesting story about Moncton First Baptist Church which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. It's a most impressive building, and built with a seeming indifference to cost.  But the  intriguing thing is that period of  lavish building in Moncton, almost unmatched since, is all of a century ago. Why?

There are other, expensive and quite grand churches near it. There is the Capitol Theatre. There are a number of interesting houses near the churches.

Why that sudden burst of prosperity? And is it connected in any way with the streets that carry Montreal names - like Mount Royal, Westmount...?
The editorial, as always, is about money. This one begins as a tale of the sins governments commit when they give away taxpayers' money to private business. Then, almost half-way through, it shifts gear to say that giving our money away to private business is okay if it's only a quarter million. And especially when it's a going to create many jobs and piles of money.

Okay. If this is such a red-hot, sure bet, how come the company can't borrow a lousy quarter million?

Oh, yeah. The owner is coming here because he believes New Brunswickers have the work ethic. (This comes from the same newspaper that has blamed the unemployed for being too lazy to work!)

And doesn't the definition of capitalism include the clause that the capitalist risks his own money?

Norbert has another rant about how the provincial government doesn't know what it's doing. I agree. I would also agree that was true about the Conservative government that preceded it. But Norbert,-----

....if your head holds more than the fringe of hair we see, you must know that those two parties don't run New Brunswick - and never have. The province is run by Irvings. You've heard of them, Norbert? He concludes by saying the politicians reflect '..the self-destructive internal logic of the rotten, deluded political culture. It's sad, pathetic and damaging. And it's time to put a stop to it."

It's not the politicians, Norbert. They can be pretty scummy; but they're not the cause. And I can't help noticing that you and your newspaper give space (as in Commentary) exclusively to the people you call rotten and deluded, neveer to one of t he other parties.

The Liberal and Conservatives may well be rotten and deluded Now, Norbert, have to guts to explain where that rot comes from. You know the answer. I know it. Everybody knows it. And we all know that you are a prime worker in fertilizing the rot.

Brent Mazerolle does it again - an exccllent commentary on Pope Francis. And even I, a child raised never to bow the head to the Catholic foe, fully agree with it. There's still a long way to go. But Pope Francis has moved the Roman Catholic church ahead by centuries. His intervention in Cuba played a major part in improving that situation. And he has put his life on the line in defying the Mafia.  I don't think there has ever been such a genuinely Christian pope.

Bill Belliveau has an almost incoherent column. It starts out as a call for the merging of Riverview, Moncton, and Dieppe, but really seems like yet another pitch for the events centre. Look, if this is really a hot deal, and a chance to make huge profits, why not let the owner of the hockey team build it? I mean, if you read Norbert, you know that only private business knows how to do these things right. Government is all made up of deluded people.  Don't you read each other's columns?

There's a good story on A14 about a demonstration by health workers in Monctono. Too bad it's hidden on the last page of the section. I think that, and not yet another story about Coliseum bungling, is the real headline story of the day. The government's argument that privatization of some health care will save money is pure nonsense. It's been proven many times that privatization does NOT save money. If you think it does, then go to the US for your next hospital stay.
Section B, Canada&World has nothing worthwhile about Canada, and almost nothing at all about the world -though there are some very scary things going on in this world. (those are below).

B1, though, has a startling story. The NDP seems tied in a three-way race for the Alberta elections. You're not amazed? Well, Alberta has usually been the most conservative province in Canada. That's because it's also the most American province in Canada. In its settlement days, it attracted large numbers of Americans because the US was running out of land. They brought with them American values. The Calgary Stampede, for example, was and is largely a celebration of the myths of the American cowboy. Politically, that led Alberta into a series of bizarre and even crackpot political schemes like Social Credit, and into the creation of far, far right politics which spawned people like Stephen Harper.

And the polls show the NDP in a tie? Wow!

On B5, the Governor- General is visiting New Brunswick this weekend -as if somebody cares. He was president of McGill because he always did what rich members of the board of governors told him to do. That is probably why Harper picked him as Governor-General and, so far, he's been Harper's kinda guy - the most compliant Governor-General in Canadian history.

B6 has an excellent story on the charging of 6 Baltimore police in the death of Frerddie Grey. It's too early for cheers; but it's a step in the right direction..

And B7 has a big photo of a Mexican woman whose son went missing - almost certainly a victim in a mass murder by Mexican drug gangsters (which means almost the same as the Mexican government). She's visiting governments to ask for intervention to find out what happened to her son. Ottawa was one of her stops.

Good luck with Harper, lady. He won't even help Canadians who get illegally imprisoned in other countries.
Omar Khadra is a Canadian. He was put in a prison camp illegally, then put in a worse one, illegally, tortured illegally, and tried and sentenced illegally. And now he's on bail, Harper is fighting to get him put back in.
Hint to the mother - tell Harper your son was born in Israel.

And that's it. But as I checked through events of yesterday, I thought they were appalling - and very, very frightening.

Their is a very narrow strait between Oman and Iran. It is so narrow that the territorial waters of those two states almost touch each other. Something very serious could be happening there.

It began some days ago with a report that an elderly Iranian warship (Iran has no navy to speak of) stopped an American-flagged ship on its way to Yemen. The story was it stopped it in Iranian territorial waters by firing a shot across its bow.

That shouldn't have been a tough story for reporters. The region is heavily policed by American surveillance. And the cargo ship must have had wireless,(Hell, wireless is over a century old),  and would have sent a message about the approach of an Iranian warship.

Then the story changed, though slowly. It seems it was not an American flag. It was a Marshall Islands flag. (check google - Marshall Islands Flag. It has no resemblance to an American flag)..

Another day - and now it didn't happen in Iran territorial waters. It was in the open seas between Oman and Iran. And those nasty Iranians forced it to turn into Iranian waters. Well, it's possible..International waters in that area are only a few miles wide. But how could the US know that story is true. After all, it doesn't seem to have known anything about that ship. So how could it know so exactly where the ship was when it was stopped?

And what was it carrying? Cargo ships have to file manifestos. It doesn't take an ace reporter to know that, and to ask to see them.

And why would the Iranian navy, both tiny and antiquated, stop a ship in a situation sure to cause an American reaction?

And, for that matter, why does the US just happen to have such a large and powerful fleet in the area? One report claimed it was there to guard against pirates. Sorry, kiddies. nobody uses the world's biggest and most powerful warship, all one hundred thousand tons of it, to hunt down pirates in motorboats. Anyway, the smallest ship in that fleet would easily dispose of the whole Iranian navy and regional pirates even if the latter came out in full force.

This looks very much like a false flag operation. The US wants a war with Iran. It wants to destroy Iran much as it wants to destroy most of the middle east - to monopolize the oil, and to destroy a country that has been endangering US ambitions to control all world economies. Iran has done that by forging trade relationships with Russia and China. Would the US do such a thing? Back about 1950 it did just such a thing when it overthrew the elected government of Iran to install a dictator - all because Iran wanted to control its own oil. And when the Iranians overthrew the dictator to become a democracy again, the US paid Saddam Hussein to invade it.

This, of course, risks a war with Russia and China. Why would the US do that?

Well, it has clearly decided long ago it is looking for a war with Russia and China. But the clock is running down fast. The drop in oil prices that we all get excited about is not the result of market forces. It was engineered, with the cooperation of Saudi Arabia, to destroy the Russian economy which is heavily dependent on oil

The trouble is that it's also destroying the American economy. (and Canada's). The US is now suffering levels of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness that our news media rarely mention. It is in serious danger of massive civil disorder as social programmes are cut to spend lavishly on corrupt deals with the defence industry.. The American dollar, itself, could be facing real trouble, disastrous trouble.. If the US wants to move, it has to move now. The destruction of Iran could be done quickly, cutting off what's left of a Russian and Chinese  foothold in the middle east.

The only way Russia and China would be able to intrude would be by nuclear war. And they MIGHT not do that. That is one hell of a risk.But the US  (and Canada) are controlled by some pretty deluded people.

And if it works, what will you and me gain by it? Nothing whatever. These people don't go to war to do us any favours. And,  with Iran gone, they could focus, again with luck, on Russia, and hope that China would stay our of it.

What is happening in the Middle East right now is very frightening - and more important than anything I have found in the news.

The war in Syria goes on with both Saudi Arabia and the US supporting the rebels who now include large numbers of Al Quaeda killers. (Remember when we were being told that these were the world's worst terrorists? Well, now we're buddies.) So what's going on?

The intention certainly appears to be to destroy the whole Middle East with eternal conflicts that will keep if divided into warring groups. It really has nothing to do with Assad. They want the whole country and the region made helpless by inner turmoil. The US now supports Al Quaeda, and might well be supporting ISIS.

In good news, somebody is in jail for the years of torture inflicted on thousands of prisoners in Iran and Afghanistan and, (even today, though never mentioned) in American prisons. It was (and is) torture approved by Bush and Obama and the heads of the CIA and American generals and members of government and, by their silence, large numbers of the clergy in the US. So it was good to read someone is doing 35 years in jail for it.

No. The someone is not one of the above. It's the man who released the file showing what was going on.

Finally, and though it isn't much in the news, Harper's anti-terrorism bill includes a clause that could be used to make any criticism of Israel illegal. It would also make it illegal to call for companies to divest their holdings in Israeli companies. Anybody who criticizes Israel in any way would be subject to arrest.

I didn't get that from the news. I got it from

I have found rabble to be a very reliable source with well-informed and well-positioned journalists - real journalists. Not a Mike Duffy in the bunch. Their source is a Canadian group called Jewish voices which, with Jews for Peace Now, is very critical of Israel. (Funny how those groups never make our news.)

There are also stories about how the Israeli lobby is infiltrating Canadian universities to stir up anti-Muslim feeling.

Harper seems to be under the impression that all Jews are the same, and that all support Israel whatever Israel does.  It's amazing how ignorant that man is of our Jewish community.

Most European Jews, for example, have little or no historical connection with Israel. They are European converts to Judaism. They are called Ashkenazi  Most Canadian Jews are Ashkenazi. Those descended from ancient Israel  are called Sephardic. And they tend to look quite different from Ashkenazis, usually because of a Mediterranean, olive skin colour..

Then there are wide gaps between Orhodox, conservative, and liberal Jews.

And there are Chinese Jews, a result of China's willingness to accept Jewish refugees when we wouldn't. There are also, I have read, Black Jews in Africa.

And not all Jews are in agreement with the Israeli government. Even many Zionists (advocates of a Jewish homeland in Israel) are highly critical of Israel. An old friend is a Zionist, but a leading member of Jews for Peace in the Middle East. In fact, almost all my Jewish friends, including some who are now Israelis, are highly critical of the Israeli government. Almost all them would be at risk of prison under the terms of the anti-terrorism bill.

Harper, like the Israeli government, insists that all Jews are a race. That is contemptible. Exactly that attitude is what made the holocaust possible. And that's not surprising. Stephen Harper has more than a touch of the Nazi about him.
An awfully long one. Sorry.


  1. The story on B1 about Alberta was probably written earlier in the week and only published Saturday (this is how the T&T operates, it doesn't actually cover news, it prepares most of the newspaper ahead of time, especially Saturday's). A set of five separate polls released late last week (mostly Friday) all had the NDP no less than 9 points ahead of the Tories and Wild Rose, and leading in all parts of the province. This is really significant, because either (a) Alberta is headed for an NDP majority government, or (b) every pollster is going to be wrong in a most spectacular fashion. 308 had the story the day before the T&T published it's dated story:

  2. Wow! 9 points. And this in the home province of Bible Bill Aberhart and Social Credit!

  3. Wow! 9 points. And this in the home province of Bible Bill Aberhart and Social Credit!

  4. (Iran has no navy to speak of) No blue water navy to speak of might be a better description. They do however have a considerable number of mini subs and fast attack boats equipped with significant weaponry capable of inflicting a lot of damage on even the most hi tech surface ships. The underlying strategy appears to be use of advanced ship to ship missiles and a swarming technique.

    An interesting read related to the last part of your post;

    Good to see someone taking the Transcript and the Irvings to task btw. Must be causing some significant anxiety among the clones in the hive. They don't like not being able to control everything and everyone.

    1. The part that struck me as odd was sending in such a powerful aircraft carrier. There is nothing there to warrant risking such a huge and expensive ship - unless they have some special use in mind - and that something else would almost have to be something on land and at a distance.
      It's hard to keep up with the advances in weaponry. I prefer the old days when a battleship like HMS Queen Elizabeth was kept in service for 30 years. (Actually, it may have been a little over 30 years.)