Monday, January 16, 2012

Jan. 16: Fighting the blands....

I'm late in writing today. The problem I'm having is that today's Moncton Times and Transcript was almost entirely frivolous and pointless. It wasn't just the usual mix of ads and misinformation disguised as news stories. It was supremely tedious, irrelevant and boring. I really could think of nothing to say about a newspaper so amateurish and newsless.

The one expection to its dreariness - and a brilliant exception - is the column by Alec Bruce on the "Davos" men. Read it. It's important not just for its anlysis of how we are manipulated but for its preception of how our world works.

I am having trouble with my own comments section. I publish all comments I receive (with the exception of a few that are simply personal abuse). But, lately, I can't answer them. For the last several days, the whole page simply disappears when I try to respond. And there were two comments today that require a response.

A Moncton resident (whom I have met) name Downe wrote to point out I made an error in my comment on the Code of Silence award. I was wrong to say it was a recent story. In fact, it was quite old.

Mr. Downe is quite right. I was wrong. He was right. But he will burn in hell. It's not nice to correct old people.

Anonymous writes that he cannot find a reliable source for the story I mentioned about the US assembling troops in Malta to be sent to Libya.

I didn't say I had a reliable source. I said there were many reports of such a movement. In fact, if you google American troops Malta Libya, you will find thousands of them. It's possible they are all unreliable. But, since there is nothing in the TandT to talk about, let's think over this business of sources.

I used to think I knew what reliable sources were. I learned that I don't.

An American soldier in his early twenties has been held in a military prison in the US for over a year. In that time, he has been tortured with solitary confinement and sleep deprivation. That is in violation of international law. But UN observers have never been permitted to see him. At last, after a year of torture, he has been formally charged and put on trial. This has all been going on for over a year. But it rare to find any mention of it in "reliable" sources.

The story of torture on a grand scale in Afghanistan broke - but not in a "reliable" source. It broke with a video on Youtube. When Lt. William Calley led his men on a slaughter of hundreds of villagers from babies to the elderly in Vietnam, nothing appeared in the "reliable" sources for weeks - though all had the information. When the CIA engineered the genocide of a quarter million  Maya in Guatemala, no media in all of North American mentioned it. When Clinton publicly admitted it and apologized, one of the very few to carry the story was the New York Times  (but hidden on p. E9).

And few would accept the reality if they did tell the truth. The news media (most of them) have revealed that US military autthorities now have the power to arrest and imprison indefiniitely any American citizen with no charge and no trial. This single move wiped out centuries of the development of human rights and democracy. England was a freer country under the evil King John than the US is today.

It doesn't matter. The news doesn't make a dent on us humans. We still, with straight faces, talk of America the land of the free, and of how the US is dedicated to bringing democracy to the world.

We have all known for years that the very rich have been taking a bigger and bigger share of the world's wealth - and that they have made it worse by dumping most of the tax load on the rest of us. We know the very rich buy politicians, whole political parties, and elections. We can read daily of incidents in which our governments have been corrupted. It doesn't take any great brain to figure out just from the little that is published that this is why world economies are in collapse.

It doesn't matter. The New Brunswickers who voted Liberal, then got mad and voted Conservative, will get mad at the Conservatives next time and vote Liberal.

The finance minister will consult New Brunswickers on the provincial budget. We all know it doesn't matter a damn what we say about it. The budget will be set to please the Irvings and Ganongs, etc. as it always has been. Nor does it matter a damn what we think about shale gas. Neither the government nor the Irving news media will do anything about it. And most of the public will just sit there with their faces hanging out.

Tbe US lied about its reasons for the war in Vietnam. It lied about its reason for invading Iraq. It lied about the invasion of Afghanistan. It lied about the extent of its involvement in Libya. It's lying now about its motives for intervening in Syria. (And does anyone who knows the death toll of civilians in Vietnam, Guatemala, Cambodia, Iraq,etc.really believe we cared whether Col.Ghadaffi was a  brutal ruler? Don't people know that Saudi Arabia, a leading critic of Syria, used its troops to kill rebels in the ermirates?) You know know something strange is happening when the king of Saudi Arabia, perhaps the most absolute dictator in the world, is joining a campaign for `democracy`in Syria.

Us humans develop our views of the world very early. The fundamental view is that WE are good. THEY are bad. A Moslem who kills is a terrorist. A western Christian who kills is a freedom fighter. And our news media are full of words that few people understand. But it doesn`t matter that so few understand them. the real meaning of them doesn`t matter. All that matters is the emotional meaning,the gut reaction to words like conservative, liberal, left, right, terrorist, extremist.

The reality is that we are living in a world not of saints and devils, but of people, just people. And it`s a world that greed and power and lies and illusions have driven wildly out of balance.

News media are operated by people. Like all us people, reporters and editors are driven by self-interest, by manipulation, by misconceptions of the what the world is like....

In short, sources are less important that one might think. Most sources are faulty. Some are more worth paying attention to than others. Some are outright liars and manipulators. Some at least try to be honest.  Some very small and unprofessional sources have been known to be right when even the big ones, like the New York Times were either wrong or silent.

We cannot learn about current events by looking for good sources. We have, first, to develop a realistic view of how humans behave. If we don`t, we simply will not recognize the truth even when we see it - as, for example, most people have not realized the truth of what it means when the American army can arrest citizens and imprison them indefinitely with no charge or trial.

Once we rid ourselves of the silliness that human behaviour is all about good and evil, once we realize we are talking about humans on all sides, then we can make intelligent decisions about when sources are reliable and when they are not.

(For those surviving Christians who believe the world IS made up of saints and devils, I suggest they read The Bible more closely -starting with the bits about forgiverness and loving your neighbour.)

Sorry there was nothing to say about The Moncton Times and Transcript. There was Alec Bruce at his best. But, oh, the rest was painful.

1 comment:

  1. The first website to come up when typing in those keywords (Libya) is "infowars" a right-wing conspiracy theorist website who believes that barack obama is a muslim.. I think I'll pass on the libyan troops for now.