Thursday, April 7, 2016

April 7: The fading story of the Panama Papers in the Irving press

Here's an opinion on the Panama Papers that I don't agree with. I'm not at all sure it was investigative journalism that revealed this story. And, certainly, investigation has never been the strong point of journalists. And, in New Brunswick, it has never existed at all.

I think this one too easily accepts the official version that this was all done by Clark Kent-type journalists.  And, certainly, this is the one accepted by most western journalists (who should know better from their own, work experience.) This one is much better.

As is this.

The Guardian and other papers are still running multiple news and opinion colums about the Panama Papers. The Irving press has one, drab story that tells us less than yesterday's story did. It has published  no commentary on it at all.
So, let's start with the drab and boring world of the Irving press.
The big, front page story is that Moncton is going to spend an extra 7.5 million on the 'events' centre. Isn't that nice that this province standing, we are told, on a financial cliff can spare well over a hundred million for a hockey rink?

For those who think that news means trivial gossip, A4 has "Burglar nabbed after going back to crime  scene for purse." Yes, the Irving has that one, and lots of stories about people you never heard of who are running for things like city council. All have exciting programmes like 'doing things for the future' - so much better than doing things for the past.

The only story worth reading is that St. Thomas University is ending its hockey programme. There are many, many good reasons for that. One is that it's not a university's job to train athletes for pro careers. Another is that it's very expensive, especially for an activity that has no academic value.

In fact, the only reason we have sports leagues for universities is because of a school in England called Rugby. In those days, it was a school for the very,  very rich. And the very, very rich were less interested in brains than in athletics. The reason for that is  that they identified themselves with the knights of old who constantly practiced hunting, horses, jousting, sword play. They believed it was these activities which shaped their characters, and made them superior to the rest of us. Brains were not important. What was important was something vaguely called character and leadership. And the key to that was sport.

Of course, this could not be the crude sports played by common people, usually without rules. No, they had to be sports played only by the gentlemanly class, the rich. Anybody who had to get paid to play was, by definition, not a gentleman. Under these conditions, Rugby introduced team sports as a major part of the curriculum.

That's why, back in the days when it was mostly the wealthy who could afford to send their children to university, the game of Rugby was brought here to ensure they would become gentlemen of the leadership class. (However, universtities in Canada and the U.S., in order to understand the game, had to re-invent it as Football.)

But, like hockey, it was for gentlemen only, not for the lower classes. That's why the Grey Cup and the Stanley Cup are, officially, for amateurs only.
Sports have nothing to do witih the purpose of a university. They're also very expensive to operate. Good for St. Thomas.

Norbert has a good column on this.

For the editorial writer, the big issue of the day is whether city councillors  should get a raise. After all, even the requested raise of four percent for firemen and police is dreadful. That is the great issue of the day.

 I look forward to the day I see a tough editorial on business executive salaries - and on their avoidance of taxes.

Rod Allen thinks the great issue of the day is the thrill of spending more on the 'events centre'.
The guest column is about the Ghomeshi trial. It's a decent column. But, really, -   where does it rank among all the issues facing this world?

Alec Bruce writes about the coming of WestJet to Montreal. Unfortunately, he has nothing, really, to say about it.

When are we going to get a commentary that takes us beyond trivia about Moncton Main Street?
Canada&World (sigh).

Our provincial NDP leader Cardy is not going to support Mulcair for the national  leadership of the part. So bloody what?  Cardy's dismal record as provincial leader means that nobody cares who he doesn't support. And Mulcair is a gone goose, too.

We face huge crises - the theft of billions - even trillions of dollars by the very wealthy of this world - the growing gap between rich and poor - our failure to ensure living incomes - and empowerment of women that still has a long way to go - our lack of any progress on the issue of climate change ---these and many others.

The Liberals and Conservatives have already proven they won't do anything. The Greens are far too much a single-issue party to deal with all these. It's not just a matter protecting the environment. It's a matter of controlling those forces that care far more about profits than about human life. It's not just a matter of declaring what we are for. It's a matter of controlling that which we are against.
The NDP has drifted far, far to the right. At best, it promises to be a better Liberal party than the Liberal party is. And that's not good enough, not by a long shot.

Anyway, you cannot make change by simply going to where the thinking of the people is. Where that thinking is is what has created the crises we live in. People need to learn what the problems are and what the cures can be. A party cannot help people by adapting itself to what they think. It has to make them aware of what the problems are, and how it attempts to deal with them.

In other words, the NDP has been a failed adventure in trying to win by proposing band-aid solutions, and by trying to appear mainstream to get votes. It is not mainstream, and it should not be mainstream. It's not just a matter of winning votes. To start, it's necessary to convince the voters of what the problems are, and what they must do to fix them.

We are being robbed on the greatest scale in history. Read the Irving press. There's scarcely a word about it. We are facing irrepairable damage to the environment.  We are assured it's not going to happen; it IS happening. At the gentlest, that means migrations by the hundreds of millions - at least. It means threats to food and water supplies. It means wars over what's left. And we're just standing there with our faces hanging out.

The NDP should go back to what it was as the CCF. It should stand for changes, not for adjustments. And the Greens and the NDP should unite because the Green party's focus is too narrow ever to form a government. As well, it can never hope that any of its goals will be achieved without tackling the big obstable - the power of big money.

What's wrong is and has long been the uncontrolled, unregulated, irrresponsible and greedy behaviour of the very wealthy. If we don't fix that, we don't fix anything - not the environment, not poverty, not homelessness. If we don't fix that, we don't even survive.

I know. That's going to be tough in New Brunswick most people think the important thing is to think as much like other people as possible because that's respectable. But being a little bit unrespectable is a more intelligent way to go.
A   couple of annoyances in the news.

Yesterday, the Irving press reffered to WestJet as a corporate citizen. Again -  there is no thing as a corporate citizen. A institution is not a citizen. A business is not a citizen. My cat is not a citizen. A fire engine is not a citizen. A citizen is a person. Nothing else in creation is a citizen. So why does the Irving press so often refer to corporate citizens?

Well, it sounds warm and mellow. And it can make us feel as if corporations are folks just like us. And it implies that, as citizens, corporations have rights - perhaps of a kind we don't have. So, if Gallant meets for an economic chat with Irving, well, he's just being friendly with a corporate citizen who, like us, just wants the best for this province. Yeah.

The other story was from a general whose name I have blessedly forgotten. He says the Canadians being sent to Syria are not on a combat mission. However, there could be combat involved. So it is, but it isn't. That's double talk.
The reality is that this is, under international law, a combat mission. You cannot just send troops to another country unless you have official permission from that country. When you don't have permission, that's an invasion. You can go there to give out free Maple Syrup. It's still an invasion. And it's still combat.

The government of Syria has not agreed to our visit. Syria has not attacked or even threatened Canada. Our situation would be illegal even if Parliament declared war. But we haven't done that either.

We are sending Canadians into a dangerous situation, and one that is illegal under the Canadian constitution and under International law. And if any get killed, we will hear sanctimonious speeches about how they died to spread freedom. And that will be a lie because freedom has nothing to do with what's going on in Syria.

Why are we doing it? We're doing it to please American oil billionaires so they can make bigger profits - which they won't pay taxes on. We pay and we risk Canadian lives to make them richer.

And, please, skip the crap that this is "Canada doing it's share". There is no reason whatever why we owe anybody any share in the mass murder and destruction of Syria.

There are many items that weren't important enough to make the Irvinig press - though it did have half a page to spare in Canada&World for a story about a sword-fighting academy in Vancouver.

Fallujah is also the city most brutally attack by the U.S. in the Iraq war.

And I have never seen a story in the Irving press about what Israel has been doing to Palestine. And this is only a small example of what's been happening.

And this is about Syria where Canadian general somebody says our troops are not on a combat mission; but combat could happen.
When I  said earlier that, under international law, Assad is the legitimate ruler of Iraq, that did not suggest he's a sweetheart. Sweethearts don't live long in that region. As well, I  could write a much harsher indictment of, say, George Bush, of Obama, of British p.m. Cameron. However, none of that makes Assad any better than what he really is. Really, he's a reminder not to look for good guys and bad guys in current affairs. It's quite common to see bad guys on both sides. And the baddest guys are often the very wealthy ones like the Koch brothers who stay out of sight, but are the ones who order the killing. The people to feel sorry for are the ones caught in the middle. (By the way, ever see any mention of the Koch brothers in the Irving press? They are, perhaps, the most powerful men in the world.
Here's a site that's unusual in that it's from India. I was intrigued by two things - how the people of India are going through many of the same problems we are - and how this site actually has more on nearby (to us)  Latin American than the Irving press has.

The U.S. impact on Latin America has been, for over a century,  brutal, murderous and thieving. But we rarely see any of that in North American news media.
And here's a story that will never make the pages of the Irving press. The Eastern Pipeline could threaten the drinking water of five million Canadians. And, as an act of punishment, that list includes the city of St. John.
And here's something else the Irving press  hasn't told us. Canada has its own privately owned army for rent - like the American firm of Blackwater. These private armies are rented out for local communities to, say, beat up protesting students or strikers, and go all the way to fighting in wars for whoever will pay them.

It's more that a little disturbing to see their rise, especially  in the last 30 years or more. In effect, these are rentathugs for anybody who has the price. They've been prominent since the U.S. invasion of Iraq where they were regarded with dislike by many regular soldiers for their arrogance and thuggishness. They also developed quite a reputation for rape and for theft involving murder.
Nice to know Canada has them, too.
Who are the world leaders in executions? This isn't a major story. But, for many, it's a prime example of how news media and film affect our judgement of countries. We know all about Saudi Arabia's cruelties, and Iran and Pakistan killings are things we more or less expect. And certainly our news media do not hestitate to mention them.  But how often have you seen a news story about the American lust for executions?

No comments:

Post a Comment