Friday, September 11, 2015

Sept. 11: Big news pre-shrunk for you.

It's a small story, almost lost on B5 near the end of the grandly titled “Canada and World” section of our newspaper. Its headline seems trite and boring “Pentagon expects “unvarnished' views” Ho-hum, and turn to the comics. Certainly, the news editor at Irving press didn't see much in it – thus the brief story and the meaningless headline.

But this is very big.

It seems U.S. intelligence officers are furious because political leaders at the highest level (the White House) have been lying about intelligence reports they have received. The reports have been that the war against ISIL is going badly for the U.S., that it's going to be a very long and hard war, that the training of middle east troops to fight ISIL has produced terrible results, that the number of refugees will continue to grow out of control. And there is no guarantee the U.S. will win. In fact, right now it is losing and losing badly. But that is certainly not what the White House has been telling us. (And it's not what Ottawa has been telling us.)

Then there's another intriguing bit that doesn't appear in this story. U.S. intelligence reports, according to president Bush and prime minister Blair, were that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But now it seems what the reports said was quite the opposite. There were no such weapons. And so over a million people were killed in order to….what?

Bush and Blair lied. Under any standard I can think of, they should be facing charges as war criminals to be hanged as German and Japanese war criminals were hanged. I mean, we were all virtuous about hanging Saddam Hussein, weren't we?

This is going to get much, much worse in a war that is going to last for years, and with permanent effect on the whole face of the Earth as refugees continue to pour out of the war zones. A few, European countries, very few, are being helpful. But they won't be able to sustain the flood that is coming. Watch for the doors to slam – soon. Britain, Denmark and Ireland have already made it clear they will have severe limits. Expect the same in much of the European Union.

For that matter, expect the same very soon even in the generous ones. And, so far, the numbers of refugees heading for Europe have been relatively small. They head for Europe in the hundreds of thousands. But Middle Eastern countries have received them in the millions.

Canada and the U.S. have been useless, of course. And Australia, always noted to be bursting with faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, is talking of accepting only Christians. (Bad idea. Christians are the ones who created this mess.)

Oh, and Israel is refusing to accept any refugees at all. Gee! That's just like Canada and the U.S. when it refused to accept Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 40s.

B4 has an important story about the refugee, three year old boy who drowned just off the Turkish shore. The boy's father blames Canada for what happened. And he's right. The reason the family had to risk the attempt to cross the Mediterranean in an unsafe boat is because Canada denied them refugee status.

Here, the story gets a little confused as we are told Canadian authorities say he never applied for it – but also say he applied but did not meet 'requirements'. Canada is well known for its 'requirements' and its abuse of refugees.

And what has caused all this? ISIL beheading people? Get real. France was beheading them until the 1970s. Our friends in Saudi Arabia do it every day. And if you want mass murder that kills without discrimination, nobody beats the U.S. airforce and drones.

People are dying by the million, and fleeing, and some, including children, are starving or drowning so that oil billionaires can put more money into their offshore bank accounts. So take your philanthropic hall of fame – and stuff it. We are the Naziis of the 21st Century.

On B3, a Spanish company has been given a permit to process and export liquified natural gas from St. John for 25 years. Yessiree – 25 more years of commitment to carbon-dioxide in our skies. What about our commitment to keep this planet alive? Not to worry. We got lotsa time, lotsa time. Relax. Have a beer.

And there's another important story B1 about how our government is keeping secrets from us about daycare. This one of the very, very few investigative stories I have seen in the Irving press. I look forward to the next one – on the Irvings and their taxation record.

It's not a just a case of government keeping secrets from us. As I read these daycare stories, I wonder what, if any standards, the government has for daycare owners and workers. Is any sort of training required? Or even available?

Today is a relatively good day for the Canada and World section. But it is still just a miserable six pages. So two, big stories left me puzzled. The front page headline is that Dennis Oland's jury was selected yesterday by noon. And there's a huge photo and story.

Come off it! For a start, that was yesterday's news. And we don't need another photo of Dennis Oland. It tell us nothing. In any case, that story is worth one, short paragraph. It's not a big, news of the day item. This is just cheap sensationalism disguised as news - and to make it a lead story raises serious questions about the judgement of the editor.

Then there's a column about collecting antiques. What does this have to do with news of any sort? It's really just a disguised ad for a local antique dealer – and most of the information in it is pure bunk. Collecting 'vintage items' is not a recent phenomenon. It was red hot in the 60s and 70s. As news, this is just useless.
In section A, most of the news is, as usual, either trivial or free ads.

A7 has a brief notice of a commemoration of the Battle of Britain on Sunday. It will be in Dieppe.

That was the battle that could have ended the war with victory for Hitler. It was very, very close. Hitler had concentrated on bombing British airbases. Killing personnel who could not be replaced quickly enough as well as destroying aircraft and facilities on the ground. Had he kept it up, the British and Canadian airforces would have ceased to be effective within a few weeks, and Britain would have had to surrender. Luckily, Hitler switched his bombers to hit the cities where the defending fighters could meet them on even terms.

In the end, we won the war because Hitler made two, bad decisions. One was bombing British cities. The other was invading Russia.

As a memoir of the Battle of Britain, google Vera Lynn, and the song that captured the mood of that time “There'll be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover”.

The editorial, about renaming a park after an Acadian poet, is a very sensible one. New Brunswick's bilingualism still has some way to go (it stills works better for the English than for the French)– but it's the best I've seen in Canada.

Norbert is interesting with his column on Harper's “Get tough on crime” agenda. He doesn't like the Harper approach, but leaves his solution to the last paragraph. That weakens his point. To bad. It's a point worth considerinng.

Cole Hobson again writes a commentary on trivia. He just loves the Moncton museum, and thinks it explains a lot about Moncton's history. I don't agree. But I wouldn't write commentary about that because there are far, far more important issues to discuss.

Good column by Justin Ryan about our need for immigrants.

Excellent column by Alec Bruce on daycare regulation in this province.

But all the commentary in this section is very local. And we live in a world that's getting a lot smaller. If I hurried, I could get to Beijing for lunch tomorrow. Or I could be in Russia for breakfast. Or Russia could be here for breakfast.

In the World Wars of the last century, we fought two in which millions died. But most Canadians then as now have little idea what those wars were about. All they knew was what the papers, like the Irving Press, told them.

And those were days when the rest of the world was far away.

It's not far away any more. The whole world is on our doorstep. And some of us are past their doorstep and in the house.

What was Vietnam about? Why did the U.S. isolate Cuba? Why were Canadians in Korea? In Afghanistan? Why are they in Ukraine and Iraq? Why does Harper build fear of terrorist attacks? And why do such attacks (like 9/11) happen? Is it because those people are just born evil? If so, how come it's only lately that they have been doing such attacks? And how is the indiscriminate killing of 9/11 different from the indiscriminate killing by our side of millions in Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Latin America….?

We live in a world that is very, very close to us, and very, very unstable – largely due to western interference with other regions for 500 years. We've even created interference in the western world. Western capitalism was the major force in shaping Mussolini's fascism and Hitler's Naziism. It was also the force that turned millions of people to communism. It wasn't that they were born evil. If evil had been in their genes, then the Chinese and Russians would have been evil thousands of years earlier.

China, for example, became unstable because the western powers destroyed Chinese society in order to make money out of it. That led to rebellions and the creation of Mao's version of communism, and now to a Communist government that is actually a distortion of a capitalism that is just like ours. And I suspect it's not out of the woods yet.

The U.S. itself, has become highly unstable. That's why it's full of domestic spies. That's why its police are being militarized. It's because they are being trained to fight the American people. Canada is going down the same path.

The world is no longer over there. It's here.

We need far, far more commentary on foreign affairs. When we're lucky, we get Gwynne Dyer once a week. We get Anne Landers and who's having a birthday in Hollywood more than that. We can't afford to be ignorant. The price of ignorance is too high. And, frankly, a commentary on how great the local museum is doesn't cut it.

We need foreign affairs commentary at least once a day. Hint – the Irving press could have made space by dumping its big photo and story about how Jake the Snake will visit Moncton to attend a wrestling match.

Oh, on a closing note, why is the provincial government giving $863,000 to a call centre to set up business here? Isn't capitalism the system in which daring entrepreneurs risk their own money? Aren't these the people who say government shouldn't interfere with business. (There's a column for you, Norbert.)

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