Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Jan.12: Hello, Irving press? There's a huge fracking disast--hello?

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.
Feeling the need to start today's Irving press with an intelligent column, I turned to C4 to read the column by student editor Jana Giles, a student at Moncton High. She feels we get dosed with too much Shakespeare in our schools. I agree.

I really got a dose because I went to Montreal High just a few years after Christopher Plummer. I was even in the same class he had been in and, who knows, maybe in the same seat. By then, he already had a name as a Shakespearean actor – if not the world reputation he would soon achieve. The annual school play was always Shakespeare, and we just pretended he was still a student to call him back each year for it.

My best friend in the class had already committed his life to Shakespeare, and spoke to me only in Shakespearean English. The word 'what', for example, was always pronounced 'h-watt'. So I'm with Jana Giles on this one.

But I like the sonnets – like the one above.

There's nothing much in section A. On page 1, Frank McKenna says New Brunswick needs refugee immigration to boost its population. But he doesn't take the idea very far. He would have a certain number sign a 'social contract' to stay here. Cute. But not enforceable. What new Brunswick really has to do is to treat its immigrants and its people born here better than it has been treating them for over the last century and a half.

Page one also has a story about David Bowie that says people in Moncton liked him. The story gives us not a hint of the role his music played in affecting our thinking and our tastes or of what drove him. C2 has a bigger story that tells us even less.

The best opinion or commentary column is Seniority Rules (though it's really neither commentary nor opinion. It really should be in section C as an advice column.)

Alec Bruce is interesting in discussing levels of support for gun control in the U.S. But then he links it to the issue that we should allow politicians to change their minds on promises. No doubt we should. But the changing of minds if rarely a matter of principle – it's more often a matter of payoffs.
Canada and the World is four, miserable pages that say little about Canada or the world. So let's look somewhere else.
Here's a photo from The Guardian. Get a good look at the rifle carried by the man in the photo. It's a semi-automatic. It'll keep shooting just by pulling the trigger – no bolt to turn, no pump, lever to reload.
Notice the ammunition magazine just below his right hand. That's a high capacity magazine – and the only purpose for having such a high capacity magazine is to kill large numbers of people.

The gun is of no use for target shooting or hunting. Only for killing lots of people.

As well, it's given a military appearance by its metal-frame butt. That appeals to the macho instinct of some, insecure people.

And you can buy guns just like that in Canada.

It's much worse in the U.S. because Americans are raised on the myth of accomplishment by armed uprisings. It's reinforced by an idealized history of the mass murder of native peoples. It's also helped along by a strong, religious faith that God wants the U.S. to conquer. American leaders for a very long time have borrowed the term 'chosen people of God' to apply it to Americans. All of this is strengthened by an endless dose of film and TV that glorifies gun violence as a virtue. (Check out a show called 'The Riders'. There's a mass murder by the good guys in every one.)

Taking the American Revolution as their guide, Americans commonly see armed violence as the key to freedom. (Actually, Americans were no freer after the American Revolution that they were before it – except of course for the big landowners and slave-holders like George Washington.)

All of this has combined to make the U.S. an enormous threat – to itself. And the money-power of the arms industry, coupled with the corruption of U.S. government guarantees that nothing will be done about it. Even the very modest controls of Obama are unlikely to last. And – we're going to see something very similar in Canada.
Also in The Guardian and about guns is this heart warmer.

The flow of such guns into Mexico is because the US arms industry floods the world with guns, especially with the ones designed for mass murder. That's why at least a hundred thousand Mexicans have been murdered in the last eight years with many more to come. That's also why so many of the violent areas around the world are violent – to make profits for the U.S. arms industry. That industry is also the one that pays politicians to support the National Rifle Association so that Americans continue to hold the unlimited right to keep and bear arms.

Amazingly, the eagle-eyed editors at the Irving press haven't noticed a disaster in California that has been going on for a couple of months and more, and has forced 6,000 to flee. It's a massive escape of methane, a super-greenhouse gas from a fracking operation. It's one of the worst, perhaps THE worst accident in U.S. environmental history. It also kills people. And the company and its scientists have not been able to deal with it for over two months.

Of course, with only four pages for Canada AND World, you can't publish everything; after all we need the space for a big story that the Powerball jackpot is getting bigger. The editors should have asked Mr. Irving. I'm sure he would have insisted the methane story be run. Front page. Big headline.

CBC reports that only two percent of Canadian airstrikes have been directed at Syria. That's like saying a drunk driver killed only two percent of a crowd he ran into. Or that, while hundreds of Russian planes flew over Canada, only two percent dropped bombs.

It is illegal for Canadian aircraft to go into Syrian airspace at all. We are not at war with Syria. We have no legal right to declare a war on Syria. And the Syrian government has not invited us. Those two percent of airstrikes are war crimes.

Canadians should be raising hell about who authorized those strikes. And the Canadian government should be raising hell about it. Who is setting the rules for our aircraft in Iraq? And why are they still there when Trudeau was promising up to the election that he would recall them?
A reader sent me the following item. The source is Harper's which is not , by any stretch of the imagination, a radical magazine. It tell us about something we should already have known – that Saudi Arabia has been funding terrorist groups, including ISIS, from the start. But this goes a lot further – and much of what we learn comes from the very un-radical Hilary Clinton.

My computer is giving me problems at the site for haaretz, but I urge readers to try haaretz.com
I has several articles on David Bowie, all of them far superior to those that appeared in the Irving press.
And including a very interesting one of the secret Jewish history of Bowie. The opinion section, as always, is worth a read. And…
There's a very big story on the Origins of the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich. There's nothing else like it.

There's another excellent one on how many American Jews are getting involved in the struggle against racism in the U.S. This concern with social issues and social justice is what I remember most fondly about the Jewish community in Montreal.

I have doubts about the objectivity of the writer of the following piece. But it makes more sense than the other versions I have seen in the western press (which is also lacking in objectivity).

I don't know the following writer at all. But the meat of this is in quotations from posts by Hilary Clinton. And ya gotta trust Hilary.

The following article, on the financial outlook for the U.S. arms industry, is reliable because it largely comes from the industry.

The next item might sound 'over the top'. But the writer, Paul Craig Roberts, has the highest credentials I have ever seen in a journalist, and I've always found his work to honest and reliable.

Finally – I have come across a piece of information, but have lost the source. You'll have to trust me on this. But I really did see it in a good source.

An American scientist who has been studying the effects of pesticide chemicals has been put out of business by a denial of any further support from the U.S. government. The pressure to shut him down came from big businesses that either made the pesticides, or used them for things like, you know, forest spraying.

Why does that remind me of New Brunswick's firing of its chief medical officer, Dr. Cleary?

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