Monday, September 14, 2015

Sept. 14: Part of this will offend some people. But we need truth.

The front-page headline story is – well – it's not the front page headline. The one that should have been at the top of page 1 is at the bottom of page 4. And it has a startling photo. It's a picture of a stream and a lake near St. Andrews. It seems a beautiful spot with great rocks at the shore, and water tumbling over rocks scattered in the streambed. The dense forest, shaded by its own branches are a mysterious green as a forest should be.

But I don't think you'd want to swim there. The waters of the stream and the lake are vile bright green we associate with the faces of witches.

Fish in such a lake die. People who swim in them get very sick. Nobody is sure of the cause; but factors are likely to be the dumping of human waste and sewage, run-off from lawn and farm chemicals and, though the story doesn't mention it – forest sprays.

New Brunswick has no plans to deal with this. The people involved in studying what is happening are too few to do even a basic study. And nobody in government seems much interested in it.

Hey. Be reasonable. We need the money for a hockey rink.

There is an important, front page story – though it was not considered to rate as the lead headline. New Brunswick schools will be dealing with a sizable problem this year. We're attracting immigrants very nicely. But 70% of their children speak neither French nor English. That's quite a challenge for the new children and for the schools.
Teaching those children is going to require small classes, lots of individual attention, and skilled teachers.

However, small classes and skilled teachers are exactly what our provincial government is planning to get rid of.

Well, we don't want Mr. Irving to have to pay taxes, do we? And we need hundreds of thousands of dollars for each of the new, enterprising capitalists (oops! Entrepreneurs) who comes here to demonstrate his economic courage by accepting our money.

There's nothing much else on the front page.

The banner headline story is not a news story at all. It's about how the provincial government is going to recover from its slow start. It tells us this by giving us opinions of various people.

Dear Mr. Editor,
A news story is a report on something that has happened. An opinion is not usually a news story. It's a commentary. And that's why we have an editorial page and a comment page.
Your little friend,

The other front page 'news stories' are “Hearing loss, and tinnitus are growing problems” followed by a gripping tale about a man who drives a 1967 Corvette Stingray, and just loves it. That gripping tale, takes up almost a whole page. The story includes two, large photos of old cars. .(Neither of them a Corvette).

The only other story that caught my attention is on A3 “Airmen remembered but battle for freedoms continues.”

This was a gathering to remember the Battle of Britain, an air battle in which Canadians were prominent. But take a look at the last part of headline”….battle for freedom continues.”

The airmen who fought that battle were magnificeent. They were outnumbered in the battle. At one point, their losses were so bad that they wouldn't be able to last another month. Churchill knew that, and was putting out feelers for a truce with Hitler. Fighting through that desperation required enormous courage. We should most certainly remember them – and we should no more about them.

But – here's where I may offend some people – we should not glorify war itself. It's important to know the truth about wars because we have sent more to wars since then. And we shall send more in the years to come. If we really respect the memory of those who died, we should learn the truth about why they died. We owe that to those who died – and to those who will die. We have often enough sent Canadians to die in wars we should never have fought. We owe it to who have served to make sure in the future that it is really necessary for lives to be risked.

The airmen who fought the battle of Britain may well have thought this was a battle to preserve freedom (and, in fact, at that period of the war, it certainly saved freedom for Britain.) But, whatever they thought, World War Two was not fought to preserve freedom.

I know Churchill and Roosevelt said this was a war to bring freedom and equality to all peoples of the world. Churchill and Roosevelt were lying. The U.S., Britain and France all had empires, countries they controlled for their own profit. The U.S. empire, much of it under dictators was in South America, The Phillipines – and with interests in Africa. The British Empire, in all but its white parts, was ruled by British officials working with British capitalists. The French Empire was in China and Africa.

At the end of the war, Britain gave India its freedom. But that was only because Britain no longer had the strength to hold it. The truth is that, in all those empires, India was the only colony that got freedom and equality. Others who wanted freedom and equality had to fight for it in very brutal wars in Indo-China (Vietnam), all over Africa, Malaya, Guatemala (where they lost to American mercenary armies) , Cuba.

Far from despising Hitler, Canada and the U.S. supported him right up to 1939 (the U.S. even longer). In fact, the U.S. never did declare war on Germany. It was Germany that declared war on the U.S.- and did it almost a month AFTER Pearl Harbour. So much for Roosevelt's desire to defend freedom.

To say that is not to criticize those Canadians who died. But to say our wars were all fought for freedom is to tell a lie, and, perhaps, to send Canadians to wars that should not be fought. We've already done it – in Afghanistan, Libya, now in Syria, and perhaps soon in Ukraine.

Remember those who fought. Remember their sacrifices. But don't glorify war itself. And don't lie about it. It's true, as the article says, “...teachers, parents, and others should be speaking out.” Of course they should. But they should tell the truth.

Oh, the article ends with someone talking to a child about the meaning of freedom. Good idea – so long as we point out that secret police, torture, and lying news media are not a part of freedom.

The editorial is an almost Biblical celebration of sports retail stores in Moncton. Boy, way to take on the big issues, chief.

Norbert tells us that churches are closing, but religion is alive and evolving. Well, there was an important man who would have agreed with Norbert. Mao Tse-Tung (or Mao Zedung – take your choice), was the president of Communist China who deliberately destroyed religion in China in order to create the kind of society that Norbert says is the one we are moving into.

In any case, I'm not sure that what religion we have left is evolving in a very useful way. As he says, the only churches which are thriving seem to be Protestant fundamentalist ones. But fundamentalists are the ones who seem obsessed with themselves and getting themselves into heaven – and that does not seem a Christian attitude. And, in the U.S., fundamentalists are major backers of the U.S. invading more countries.

Craig Babstock has a trivial column which seems to start with AC/DC, but soon loses its way in babbling. Below him, Steve Malloy does a far better job on almost the same topic. I don't understand why an editor would approve two commentaries on the same topic, especially when one of them has nothing to say.
Alec Bruce has a very solid column on premier Gallant's decision to reconsider his decision to take more money from seniors.

Canada&World News actually has some world news in it, but nothing that isn't generally well known. B1 has an excellent letter by Jean Chretien about how Harper has shamed Canada by doing so little to help refugees. But there are reasons for that.
1. Harper is using hatred propaganda about Moslems to kiss up to the U.S., and to justify cutting away Canadian freedoms. (You know, the freedoms we are still fighting to defend).
2.Hatred is very popular among the kind of people who vote for Harper.
3. He doesn't give a damn about the refugees.

But this didn't start with Harper. Respect for Canada internationally was going down the tubes long before Harper. We're puppets of the U.S. government. That's why we sent 'peacekeepers' to Haiti even though they weren't peacekeepers. They were there to make the U.S. invasion and conquest of Haiti look respectable. I don't know of any country in the world that takes Canada seriously in international affairs. Too bad. There was a time when we were highly respected.

And what about our air force in Syria? In all the history of Canada, I cannot think of another occasion when our forces, at risk, have been so ignored.

On the last page of the section there's a headline “Manitoba premier promises road for community”. And I thought – so what? I had to read three-quarters of the story before I found what it should have been about – the appalling conditions in which a community of native people in Canada has had to live.

Generally, the international stories are not much use. We already know about them from TV and (some) radio. But, without analysis, we can't understand them. We really need more analysis in this paper and on private radio. In this respect, private radio has become quite brainless.      

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