Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dec 3.: The picture of the week.

The story below is about a man who has been held at Guantanamo  for 13 years without charge and without trial. Now, U.S. authorities have admitted that even under their skewed version of international law he should never have been there in the first place.

But what caught my attention is the photo at the top. It has a double irony. This is a story about a man who was illegally held for thirteen years with no charge or trial. It has a photo of the prison fence at Guantanamo where 15 or so are still being held, seemingly forever, and who have been tortured. Their crime was defending their country when it was invaded by the U.S.

Now read the big sign on the fence.
There there's a story about refugee camps. The average stay is estimated to be 17 years. There's a photo of a typical such camp, a photo which, unfortunately, tells us nothing about clean water supply or sewage, and little about the habitability of these cheap sheds. But you can guess. And remember, with habitations expected to still be in use for at least 17 years (probably much more as more refugees come), these are going to be dreadfully vile places.

And just think, the U.S. was happy to spend almost 2 trillion dollars on wars to create this misery.
Readers will be pleased to learn that the wage gap is still growing despite these difficult times. ( And, this is exactly like the period of the depression of the 1930s when everybody suffered - everybody except the very rich who actually got much richer. This had nothing to do with talent or risk taking or entrepreneurship; most of the very rich were born rich. And, when you can hide your money offshore, when you can tell a premier what you'll pay for a public forest, you don't need a whole lot of entrepreneurship.)

The figures below are for the U.S. But Canada is not different.

Then there's a side-effect of the Syrian war that we never hear about. Some 2 million children are missing education because of the fighting and the destruction. Many of them  have no homes, no living parents, nothing. They live in what's left of the streets.

It's comforting, I suppose, to think that in war we are fighting evil people. But, sometimes, we are the evil ones - and the people we're killing are the homeless and starving. And the children who survive live lives that no longer have any meaning.

Some day, I would like to read a military history that studies this part of war. Mostly, military histories are just a drone about how virtue was all on our side.

Peter Koenig is an outstanding authority on international affairs. Below, he writes of the recent election in Argentina. People who read only the Irving press will never have heard of Argentina or of South America in general. That's because so much of the news from there has no human interest value like Denis Oland's trial does. Instead it's about the deadly levels of environmental damage caused there, the corruption of those leaders who like corruption,  and the murder of those who don't, all done at the command of the U.S. government as a courtesy to foreign investors - among whom Canadians are prominent.

Since the early nineteenth century, the U.S. has been supporting puppet rulers who do what American and Canadian 'entrepreneurs' tell them to do. The presence of Canadians in this is probably why the Irving press never mentions it.

Koenig quotes the line that President Roosevelt is said to have spoken about these - "they're bastards. But they're our bastards." There have been many such all over the world. Hussein was once "our bastard". So was Ghadaffi. So was Assad: (he was a trusted ally of the U.S. who allowed the CIA set up torture camps in Syria.)

This article is about the Argentina election, and our new bastard.

All politicians and the very wealthy speak in grand terms of great causes and pure ideals. But most work within the bounds of pure filth and greed.
And that brings us to today's Irving press.

A1 has the story "Businesses eager to be part of events centre". I'll just bet they are. They just love contributing to Moncton's Resurgo.  (They're very civic minded.)

The headline story is a real headline story. The Roman Catholic church in this region (as in any other I have ever heard of) has known for many, many years that some of its clergy have been molesting children. It has even known who the molesters are. And it has done nothing. Quite apart from the moral aspect, such priests have done enormous damage to the church, itself. The only useful answer is for the church to get tough about this.

There is another front page story I'd be a curmudgeon not to mention. It's about a two-year old Moncton girl who has a phenomenal mind. She can name half the cabinet ministers in Ottawa. (I can't.) At one, she spoke her native Persian; at two she has learned fluent English entirely on her own.

Yes, it's a human interest story rather than news - but it's a good, human interest story. The problem for Section A is there's nothing in the pages that follow it.
The editorial calls for a new economic development plan for New Brunswick - but does not say what it should be. This is what's called a "Something must be done!" editorial. Worse, the official policy of this paper seems to be austerity. But austerity is NOT a development plan. Quite the contrary, it destroys development.

Norbert has a useful column on city funding.

Commentary has its usual, pointless photo at the top of the page. Rod Allen is back to his usual mix of ponderous wit, unmerited self-importance, and irrelevance.

Then, halleluja, there's a superb colum by Geoff Martin of Mount A. "Should New Brunswick consider getting off the austerity habit?" That's exactly what New Brunswick should do. Austerity programmes inevitably just make the rich richer and everybody else poorer.

Alec Bruce writes on much the same thing.

Note to the editorial writer - the latter two suggestions are exactly what this paper has been usually against. Read and learn. Note, too, that this means we need more government, not less. (Really anyone who could rant about how all virtue comes from reducing the role and size of government does not understand what the word democracy means. A government has to answer to us. A billionaire doesn't.)

And an added note. It is of fundamental importance that we deal with the problem of hidden bank accounts. If you want money, go where it is.
Canada&World has almost nothing on World, and little of any importance on Canada.

The lead story ('Premier, Minister mum of top doctor's leave') poses a question reporters seem not to have noticed - even though they mention it. Dr. Cleary is on leave of absence. It also says it was not her decision to take the leave. She's also been told not to say who made that decision.

She was told "...not to say..." So. It was not her decision to take a leave. It was not her decision to refuse to say why she took a leave. So, someone with power told her to take a leave. This smells. But don't expect any reportorial deoderant from the Irving press.

There's the story of the mass shooting in California. The killers had combat-style rifles - semi-auto fire, large magazine capacity. Isn't that just like the insanity of gun laws in the U.S.?

Before you nod your head, may I point out that you will see such weapons routinely advertised for sale, right here in Moncton? So when is the Irving press going to respond to this aspect of the Justin Bourgue killing of three police officers here?

We get half a page of how Denis Oland just loved his dad. We get another domestic violence story that very few are going to read. It's good. But each time it appears, it's too damn long to attract the readership it deserves.

Then there's a dismaying story from our ambassador to the U.S. He notes that big business now owns the American government. So it does. We've surely learned that it doesn't matter who wins the U.S. election. Any potential winner has already been thoroughly corrupted by big money. So - the ambassador suggests that we Canadians...

.....immerse ourselves in the American think-tanks owned by big business and connect with future decision-makers. Brilliant. We encourage Canadian leaders to join in the American carnival of corruption and political prostitution.

The rest of the world? Forget it. We might hear something tomorrow as Britain, France and the U.S. move fighter aircraft to Turkey to patrol its border with Syria. It's a border lined, on much the Syrian side, with ISIS troops who will enjoy the protection against Russian aircraft that might destroy their tanker trucks full of oil to finance their war.

So, the U.S. instead of cooperating with Russia to end this war is cooperating with Turkey to raise the chance for an incident that could take us into world war.

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