Thursday, October 15, 2015

Oct. 25: The Irving press hits a new low

Section A news is pure trivia.Section B,  Canada&World, hits a new low with almost no news outside North America. Instead, we get stories like the one on B7 about a woman in Manitoba who was sent to jail for impersonating a sport star online. So let's go through it quickly.

Norbert has a column about how we should privatize parts of health service (like laundry) because private business is more efficient. He offers no evidence whatever, except to say that The Netherlands does it. This is his usual baloney that business is more efficient. May I point out that when the U.S. passed Obamacare, it was (and is) really a system run by private business – and it still is because the U.S. still allows the medical insurance companies to operate the system while the government pays their bills. The result is that the U.S. medical system is probably the most expensive in the world – but without the best results in the world. Not by a long shot. And the American people are still paying the old exorbitant fees, except now some can pay them with taxes.

Cuban health care, run entirely by the government, is far, far cheaper – and seems to have better results. I'd really like to see this paper do an honest report on what the present privatization of laundry is now costing.

Norbert might also want to read any first year history of Canada published since 1950. He'd learn that the Canadian government was so efficient that rising stars in private business were sent to Ottawa to study its methods. (Of course, the trick is to elect honest governments – which has not been New Brunswick's strong point.)

Rod Allen's column offers up his usual, leaden and self-obsessed humour with its usual lack of anything worth saying.

Section A is saved by the guest columnist and by Alec Bruce. Both columns are thoughtful, and thought-inspiring.

Canada&World is almost as bad as Section A. A typical 'world' story is two photos of locals holding up big cheques for charity. And there's not a word about the phantom Canadian air force in Iraq. There hasn't been for ages. Why is this a secret? Something very strange is going on here.

B4 has an important story about the violence in Israel. This violence takes the form of Israeli-Palestinians who are throwing rocks in the streets of Jerusalem and stabbing people – while some Jewish-Israelis are behaving in the same way ( especially the “settlers” who have taken Palestinian land.

Israel is now stationing large numbers of troops in its cities. The total number of dead is still relatively small, though many are Muslim children. And the number of wounded is in the hundreds. Both sides are motivated by intense hatred. Jews hate because they remember how the world (including us) deserted them in World War Two.

Palestinians are motivated by the utter hopelessness of their lives. The world has done little to help them, and Israel is quick to block any help that tries to get to them. They live in a prison, and they know Israel intends to destroy them, and take their land. Palestinians are throwing rocks out of despair.

Almost inevitably, we will see guerillas firing rockets from Palestine, and Israel retaliating with bombing which will, necessarily, be random. Both sides are in the right.

The ones in the wrong are us. As I wrote yesterday, we created this disaster out of our own rejection of Jews and our indifference to the plight of Palestinians. It is significant that in this story, the US government puts all the blame on the Palestinians. Just as I'm sure Harper will. With such reactions, this has the potential to become very serious, even disastrous, for both sides.
The only other item worth reading is on C3, the regular column by student columnist Aurelie Pare. This time, she offers up recipes for root vegetables. Mind you, I'm suspicious of people who eat root vegetables – probably some kind of religious fanatics. Got any chocolate bar recipes?

Then there are all those stories the Irving press didn't notice.

On the story that a missile fired by Russian-Ukrainians brought down the Malaysian civil airliner in Ukraine, there are two other accounts - one from a biased source – and the other from an unbiased source.

The biased source is the Russian news agency, Tass. It's certainly biased, but no more so than private news media in North America. And much less biased than the Irving press. It says that parts of the Dutch report are untrue. In particular, it lies about the probable origin of the rocket, saying it was fired  from an area controlled by Ukrainian (Kyev) troops, and the rocket was their standard equipment going back to the days before the Kyev government was overthrown.

The other source is American - a man of considerable academic and political qualifications - an editor of the Wall Street Journal, and an advisor to American presidents going back to Ronald Reagan. And he is furious about the standards of American reporting on this issue.

I still don't understand the failure of the Dutch report to mention the obvious machine-gun fire. Oh, and it seems it was the Ukrainian (Kyev) government that instructed the pilot to fly over what was and is a war zone.

Then there's the story of the co-chairman of the Liberal election campaign. It seems that while working on the campaign, he has also been a paid consultant to an oil and pipeline lobby group, advising them on how to carry out their lobbying of politicians. (like Trudeau). The reporter in this case is a retired journalist who is one of the best (and most honest) ones in the industry.

Worth following are the commentaries of Neil Macdonald at CBC. He's a real journalist, and one of the best in the business of commentaries. (If  you like Rod Allen's columns in the Irving press, don't read Macdonald. You're not ready.)

Then there was the announcement on CBC news that Obama has decided to keep troops in Afghanistan into 2016 - and probably beyond. This follows recent expansion of Taliban forces as Afghanistan troops, trained and armed by the U.S., cannot (or will not) deal with them. The U.S., with the most powerful and most expensive armed forces in the world, is now reaching fifteen years of war with an infinitely smaller country ( which is weakened more by being divided). It has spent way over a trillion dollars. And it cannot beat them.

It didn't beat Iraq, either. That war just made Iraqis hate the U.S. That's why Iraq (though unreported by the Irving press) is moving into closer relations with Russia to defeat ISIS. The American record against ISIS and Syria hasn't been brilliant, either. For all the killing and the imposed suffering, the U.S. enemies have actually grown larger and more defiant.

This is the real story of the Middle East - the disaster that we call American foreign policy beginning in 1901 and ending....? Bush swaggered through it. Obama, with the help of twice as much brain as Bush has, seems to be aware of the hopelessness of the American position - but he daren't say so out loud.

And this disaster has largely been the work of very big money in the oil industry which owns the American government.

Oh, that reminds me - CBC news yesterday carried  the story that moose numbers are rapidly going down across Canada - though worst in the west. Scientists tell us a major reason is climate change. But what do scientists know? If there were any such thing as climate change, the oil bosses would be the first to tell  us.

Wouldn't they?

The Guardian sums it up the news well.  The U.S. can kill on and on and on. It can make itself (and has made itself) the most hated nation in the world. But it cannot win. That's been clear in all the wars since 1945. Yes, including Korea.

Obama seems to have realized that. But of all the candidates, only one, Bernie Sanders, is opposed to the killing. The rest are eager to kill more. And it's the killers who are given the money it takes to win an American election. That money comes from the wealthy few who profit from the war industries and big oil.

The U.S. empire is crashing.

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