Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26: Mea culpa

Yesterday, the Moncton Free Press got it right; I got part of it wrong; and the Moncton Times and Transcript didn't get it at all.

The big story was that Moncton city council planned to accept a deal under which it will get some 12 million dollars toward providing services to the high school at Royal Oaks, and that it would make it official (yesterday) at a time when most of the public couldn't attend the meeting. All that part did happen.

My mistake was to misread  the MFP story, and say that the provincial government would formally approve the deal at the same time. That latter part was not, in fact, part of the procedure.

The whole deal still has quite a stink to it. This is turning out to be one hell of an expensive high school by any standard. And we still don't have any clear idea of the final price tag, Nor have we any information on why the Royal Oaks site is so superior to the other options that it is worth it to the taxpayers to pay millions of dollars extra for it.

The government won't tell. And the Irving Press won't ask.

We are also left with a city council that sneaked in a meeting under the radar, and that effectively surrendered contol over its own city development plan (which remains vague, anyway).

Significantly, the TandT had no editorial on all this. It needed the space for a more important opinion that children under the age of 12 should be allowed to babysit.  Well, why not? If they can write editorials, they surely can babysit.

The only other news of importance in Secton A is that we won't have much helium to blow up balloons for parties this summer.

Section C (NewsToday) has an interesting story at the bottom of p. 1. It's interesting because it shows how news stories can be used to spread propaganda while seeming to give real news. This one comes from Postmedia (which is very good at spreading propaganda). "Harper was warned of Syria ignoring outrage" says the headline.

Wow! A big scandal about Harper? No. A surprising story? No. A big secret? No.

There is no scandal. Harper got a secret report from his bureaucrats? So? Of course he gets secret reports, lots of them. What's the big deal?

He was warned that the government of Syria is committing crimes against humanity. So? We've all known that for well over a year. Harper didn't need a secret report to learn that. All he had to do was to listen to the news occasionally.

In fact, the story wasn't about Harper at all. It was really used as an excuse to spread the opinion of those who want a war against Syria. It's about the report, not Harper. And it's about stiirring up hatred against the government of Syria.

Postmedia doesn't say how it got the document. But I think we can guess how. Harper handed it over to Postmedia - a news service with a long record of stirring up hatreds to suck us into wars.

The words of the report are words like 'outrage', 'crime', 'rape', 'imprisonment', 'torture of children'....
And it's quite true.  Trouble is the report leaves out things that are also true.

Torture of both children and adults, rape, imprisonment, killing of civilians are quite common acts of our side. Then there are Obama's attacks by drones on countries he isn't even at war with, attacks that kill more civilians than 'militants'. The US does not release numbers on those killed, and it always refers to the dead as "militants'. If so, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen have an awful lot of dead militant babies and children.

As well, the reason the fighting goes on in Syria is because Turkey, France, Britain, the US, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain supply weapons, training and money to the rebels - most of whom are not interested in democracy, and many of whom are not even Syrians, but mercenaries.

There is alsoplenty of evidence that the rebels are quite as  brutal in indiscriminate in killing as the Syrian government is.

It is not possible that the bureaucrats who wrote this report did not know all this. Nor can I imagine any reason to stamp this report secret.  Everything that is says (and all those parts it left out about our side) have been public knowledge for a very long time.

In addition to that, top-level bureaucrats simply do not write reports in the emotionally loaded language this one uses. They don't bust their buttons over 'outrage' and 'criminal' and 'rape'. That sort of language is reserved for posturing politicians - and editors.

Postmedia claims it got the report using the Access to Information Act. Come on, kiddies. We all know that government can hide any story it considers secret. It  has often enough done so, despite the Access to Information Act.

This 'secret report' is a setup. It was written to get us ready to take part in a war against Syria, to be followed by another against Iran. This is a report that was written with the intention to release it, especially to cooperative propagandists like Postmedia.

The 'Your Business' page continues to lack any rational purpose. Today's big story is that Magic Mountain is hoping for a good year. Gee! Who would have guessed?

Today's editorial cartoon isn't offensive. It's just witless. Of course, urban ridings are smaller than rural ones. That's because so many people live in cities; and our elected members represent people, not trees.

There are closely related, and worrying, commentaries by Alec Bruce and Gwynne Dyer. They're about the reality that governments are deliberately killing the planet, and they're doing it to please the corporations that control our governments. The corporations don't give a damn about who they hurt. They happily killed a million people to get control of Iraq oil. As a news story on p. 1 of Section C indicates, our federal government has been blocking restrictions on asbestos for years, though it's well known that asbestos is a killer. In fact, Harper has been obliging his masters by cutting way back on environmental regulations. Why should we think it would bother the bosses to kill New Brunswickers?

Norbert has a decent column on the importance of correct grammar in making ourselves understood. I would just add another important factor in using words clearly. We (and especially politicians and the news media) use words that produce an emotional reaction - but words which neither the speaker nor the listener understands.

Samples are words like liberal, conservative, socialist, culture, terrorist.....  I've noticed that Norbert often uses them when he doesn't seem to know what they mean. And that's not real communication at all.

The most important story in today's paper is the one about Harper's 'secret' report on Syria. This is a clear signal that Harper has bought into the idea of a war on Syria - probably before the American election. And nobody can foretell what that will lead to. There is an extremely dangerous game being played here.

1 comment:

  1. > Well, why not? If they can write editorials, they surely can babysit.

    Classic. Just classic.