Thursday, October 8, 2015

Norbert, you should be ashamed...

Norbert Cunningham's column on the Opinion page of today's paper wallows in delight, with unending praise for the Tran-Pacific Trade Partnership. And, for a journalist, that's wrong.  It's not that I disagree with it - though I certainly do disagree with it. But anyone is entitled to an opinion.
No, disagreement with this column has nothing to do with opinion at all. It has to do with professional ethics.

Have you seen a full copy of this agreement yet? I haven't, and I've been watching for it every day. To the best of my knowledge the only people who have seen copies are the negotiators and the very wealthy who were pulling their strings.

No, Norbert has not seen it. And if he had seen it, he could scarcely have had time to read it in the short time since it was concluded. And if he did see it and is a gifted speed reader, he could still not have had time to absorb and analyze it. And if he had read it at supersonic speed, absorbed it like a    thirsty sponge, and analyzed it all in this short time, he does not have the training to analyze such a massive deal. (unless he also completed a Ph.D. in Economics in the last couple of days.)

Note, too, that he doesn't even mention one of the central features of this "partnership". In it, we agree to surrender control over our own environment and business regulations. And I note that many new media just as unethical (almost) as the Irving press have not mentioned this feature, either. If, from the day this is agreed to, we learn that a field of business, involving fields like oil, or waste water and waste depleted uranium disposal is destroying our environment or killing people, we can't do a damn thing about it.

Big business would have the power to sue our governments for changing any regulations that might affect their profits. But would big business actually do anything that would kill people?

It does it every day. That's what the Iraq war was about - and Afghanistan and Libya and Syria and Guatemala and Vietnam. The wars of big business have killed millions.  In several African countries and in The Phillipines - and perhaps other places - the waters off their coasts are poisoned with waste radioactive garbage, and great mounds of it on the shore, itself. The fisheries on which lives depended have been destroyed. A member of my family worked in one of those countries for a time. She said the death rate was so large and steady, that often the dead were simply buried by the roadside.

But Norbert practically wets his pants over a deal he, almost certainly, has never seen - and which he isn't qualified to comment on. In fact, all his column suggests is that Mr. Irving really, really likes this deal.

The editorial above Norbert's column is on the same topic, offers the same opinion, and therefore raises the same doubts about professional ethics.

If Norbert and the editorialist have any evidence to back up their gushing, they couldn't have found it in the Irving press. It has told us virtually nothing about it. Today, the only story in the paper (on B1) about the deal is a trivial one that tells us nothing about it.

This coverage isn't just propaganda. It's outright lying.

My guess is that the Canadian people will sufffer from it. After all, the Canadian people were not consulted at any point about this deal. The only ones consulted were big business. And big business looks out for itself. And the profits big business makes will be tucked away where we will never seen them.

And one more guess - but a safe one. Canada will cease to exist as a democracy because won't have to power to regulate business - and if we don't have that, then there's really no point to democracy.

In general, section A is a stinker. It has no news.

On Commentary page, Rod Allen is Rod Allen. He's trivial and has an overblown opinion of his ponderous wit.

Alec Bruce has mostly a good column on our increasing percentage of seniors, but ends with a solution so vague, it's of no help at all.
The big story for all of Canada&World is - ta-ra- the Oland trial. We learn today, that the elder Oland was killed by severe beating on the head. Gee. Who woulda guessed?

Also on B1, Harper has proposed a ban on employing in the civil service - or even serving them if they ask for information - of women wearing a niqab. This is an echo of Quebec in the heyday of separatism. And it's so extreme we can't even pretend it has any reason -except for racism.

Harper is pounding on racial hatred as an election issue - and it's working. (Yes, I know Muslims are not a race. But lots of bigots think they are. And lots of bigots want Harper for prime minister.) As I read that, it really came home to me that Canada has become Hitler's Germany of the 1930s. And, for the first time, I'm really ashamed to be a Canadian.

B5 has a delicately worded story that Canadian Pacific will agree to contribute to a $450 million dollar settlement for the Lac Megantic railway disaster that killed 47 people - if it gets 'certain legal protections'. but it adds it had nothing to do with the disaster. Oh? How very generous of CP to donate money for victims it had nothing to do with!

Why, that's just like those big-hearted folks at JDIrving  Ltd.  - you know - the ones with a chapel dedicated to God. They gave a settlement for the same disaster. Gee! Doesn't the word 'settlement' mean payoff to avoid further charges?

They're the same kind of generous souls ( perhaps the same ones) who helped to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal - and all  just so they could help you and me.

On B6, we're told all about how the U.S. government has investigated itself in the case of the prolonged bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing patients and staff. Obama says he's sorry, and the U.S. was wrong to do it. But it was an accident.

Sounds great. Next time I stick up a bank and get caught, I'll offer to investigate myself and, maybe, say I'm sorry.

The doctors say the investigation should be carried out by an independent body. And the doctors are right.  If Mexico bombed a U.S. hospital, do you think it would allow the Mexican government to carry out the investigation? And do you think it would accept "I'm sorry?"

The other, big world stories are about an Ontario doctor who's going to do nose-surgery on a dog, about how Canadian pumpkin producers are rejoicing because the U.S. has a shortage of pumpkins for halloween, and a real thriller about how a man was kidnapped in The Phillipines. Yep, them there editors is trained to spot the important stories.
Then there's the story we haven't seen in most North American news media. This has to do with the Russia intervention in Syria. The U.S. has been very upset. Understandable, the U.S. has handled the middle east with admirable restraint. killing only a couple of million people so far, and creating only hundreds of thousands of refugees....  Anyway, the U.S. has a right to kill anybody it want's to. Russia doesn't.

The news media, very recently, have been very excited that Russian fighter aircraft flew over the border into Turkey's air space. It was just barely so, but the U.S. is very upset. It would never fly into another country's air space - well, maybe with drones and, possibly with bombers as it did in Libya (and as Canada did in Libya).

So Obama is muttering dark warnings. And NATO (which is owned by the U.S.) is threatening retaliation. Funny how our news media haven't talked about exactly where the Turkish border is. See below.

Briefly, the war in Syria is happening because the U.S. intends to overthrow Assad, Syria's leader.
No,Assad is not a nice guy. But Syrians like him enough to fight hard enough to defend him. So the U.S. has been arming, training, and paying various mercenaries to pretend they're Syrian rebels. But it hasn't worked.

The U.S. wants to dump Assad because it wants control of Syrian territory, and Assad won't give it to them. Instead, he has developed a relationship with Russia.

This all goes back to 2001 when fearless leader George Bush got elected with lots of oil money to establish control of the whole middle east so that western billionaires would control oil going to Europe, Africa, and the Far East. That's also what Iraq and Libya were about.

But it hasn't worked. That's why the whole region is now in chaos. That's why at least a couple of million people are dead. (In fairness, the U.S. press is telling readers the U.S. is there to bring freedom and democracy. Right. That's why the U.S. overthrew an elected government in Egypt to install a dictatorship. That 's why it destroyed the Libyan government and the country so it has no government at all. Hey! How free can  you get?)

Israel is involved ( without it ever making our news) because it looks forward to getting a piece of Syria for the new Israel. Turkey is involved because it has been helping the Syrian "rebels". NATO is now making noises to get involved because Turkey is a member of NATO, and because NATO is dominated by the U.S.

It has become a very tangled situation with the high possibility of some sort of 'accident'. Then it could well become a world war - with nuclear weapons. And Canada would be in the middle of it because we have fighter-bombers there.

And why are the major powers prepared to take that risk?

Russia is willing to take it because it stops the U.S. empire either now or never.  The U.S. is willing to take the risk because western oil billionaires see that it's now or never for their world domination of all economies.

This is not a sideshow. And I would make no bets about how it will turn out.
But why talk about not-nice things? Let's concentrate on something really important - like those women who flaunt Canadian values by covering their faces. Let's vote for Stephen Harper to save our values.

By the way, Stevie, what are Canadian values?

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