Friday, January 25, 2013

Jan. 25: How to lie without actuaally lying ....

...not actually lying...

Read the joyous, bubbly, teeny-bopper, wowowow headline at the top of A 1.
"Community health centres draw rave reviews". Gee. That's pretty impressive, considering that no such centre has even opened yet. That may be why I haven't noticed excited crowds dancing in the streets.

'Rave reviews' gives the impression of stunning success and the reaction of very large numbers of people. But that hasn't happened.  Read the opening sentence. "The president of the New Brunswick Medical Society has high hopes for the government-funded community health centres like the one planned in Oromocto."

I'm glad to hear it. I'm sure his hopes are reasonable and well-informed. but a statement that one person has high hopes scarcely justifies the jubilant "rave reviews" for something that hasn't happened yet.

So why that jubilant headline at the top of A1? It's an old trick in journalism. You see, the big, health story is the one just below it on the right, "New Health CEOs named". Gee. That's not a very exciting headline, nothing like "rave reviews". Not likely to grab nearly as much attention.

The TandT had to print a story as important as the health minister getting rid to two health CEOs, and replacing them with stooges, men who had acted on his health committee to cut medical budgets, men who will do what they are told to do. That's a very important story.

The Health Minister has recently made loutish statements that publicly humiliate the whole medical profession. He was trying to force cuts - in the business way that he is familiar with. That means he had no great interest in wasting time by examining, with the medical profession, the best way to cut costs while maintaing services. As any big businessman would, he just slashes whatever it is he doesn't really give a damn about. He set up a "health committee" whose major job is to decide what to cut.

Then he gets rid of the existing CEOs, and replaces them  with "his" people. Great way to maintain a happy and contributing profession, Mr. Flemming. I'm sure it will be inspirational for medical staff to work under the new boys who are under orders to slash $200 million from Health in the next, four years - plus more millions out of medicare in general.

Mr. Flemming gives no clear reason why he dismissed the existing CEOs. Gee, I wonder what it could be? And the TandT reporters, as usual, seems to have made no attempt to find out anything except what Mr. Flemming told them. This isn't a report. It's press release from a man who has shown nothing but clumsiness, tactlessness and boorishness in all his handling of this affair.

It's quite possible that cuts are needed. But you don't get the best cuts by pushing them down the throats of a whole profession, destroying their morale, and seriously weakening their contribution to planning.

Of course, the TandT plays it all down, and puts its emphasis on "rave reviews". And it makes sure the real, big story in Health is written in such boring style that few will read it. The kind of people who own the Irving press would probably be as  happy to shut down medicare altogether, cut their own taxes a bit more, and use some of the savings to spruce up the family chapel. Praise the Lord.

For some correction to impressions you might get from reading the TandT, The New Brunswick Medical Society has issued an open letter to the news media. The CBC carried that story at no charge.

The TandT carries it on B5 as what appears to be a paid ad. I guess that's the only way you can make the news in the Irving press - unless somebody is giving a "rave review". Anyway, it has lots of answers to the questions no Irving reporters seem to have thought of asking.

They're flexible, though. They published the Health Minister's "open letter" for free on the front page, and called it a news story.
On page B1, "Public confused about Idle No More protest aims:poll". Well, who could be surprised? Most of our news comes from private media whose coverage has ranged from sloppy through hostile to Harper propaganda leaks. (as unintentionally revealed in a letter to the editor, "Chief Spence remains enigma".)

Editorials are usually unsigned. That's because the editorial is supposed to reflect the combined opinion of the whole editorial staff. Today's editorial urges standard, provincial exams for our schools. Alas! If you add up the educational training and experience of the whole editorial staff and multiply the answer by 10, it still comes to a row of zeros.

The final line is the silliest one, that standard exams would tell us how well teachers are doing. Bullshit. You want to know why children do badly in school? Check family income, family environment, social environment, access to intellectual stimulation - you will find a remarkable coorelation between those factors and test results.

The low rate of literacy in NB  has nothing to do with teachers or testing. It  has to do with family attitudes, community environments, social discouragement of intellectual activity, and the intellectually deadening impact of media like the Irving Press and private radio....

Norbert is in great form today - nothing heavy duty, but good reading, and useful. It certainly gave me a few things to think about.

Alec Bruce is in good form discussing the budget and the need for higher taxes. I have just one quibble. He says, "...governments are elected to lead, not to pander."

I wish.

 In reality, they are elected to pander - to the very rich. And that's why I can't have much faith in the budget decisions of this government.

The new boy on the block, Steve Malloy on the op ed page, is well worth a read for his interesting take on cyclist Lance Armstrong, who confessed to doping. He takes the case well beyond the self-righteous preaching which has been most of the media reaction to Armstrong's confession.

And David Suzuki, as always, is excellent.

The following items were sent to me by a reader. They deal with what I wrote of yesterday, France's motive for its invasion of Mali.  I did not then know of these important details. The source of the first excerpt is one I know to be a respected source.  I don't know the second source - but it sounds reasonable.

I'm writing this on Thursday evening. Will the TandT have the story tomorrow? I rather doubt it.

War on terror forever
By Pepe Escobar

[from near the end of the article]

"But the Oscar for Best Hypocritical Scenario certainly goes to the current French-Anglo-American concern about Mali being the new al-Qaeda playground, when the major playgrounds are actually NATO-supported northern Syria (as far as the Turkish border), north Lebanon and most parts of Libya.

Follow the gold, and follow the uranium
Even before it's possible to fully analyze the myriad ramifications - many of them unforeseen - of the expanded GWOT, there are two fronts to be carefully observed in the near future. So let's follow the gold, and let's follow the uranium.

Follow the gold. A host of nations have gold bullion deposited at the New York Federal Reserve. They include, crucially, Germany. Recently, Berlin started asking to get back its physical gold back - 374 ton from the Bank of France and 300 tons out of 1,500 tons from the New York Federal Reserve.

So guess what the French and the Americans essentially said: We ain't got no gold! Well, at least right now. It will take five years for the German gold in France to be returned, and no less than seven years for the stash at the New York Federal Reserve. Bottom line: both Paris and Washington/New York have to come up with real physical gold any way they can.

That's where Mali fits in - beautifully. Mali - along with Ghana - accounts for up to 8% of global gold production. So if you're desperate for the genuine article - physical gold - you've got to control Mali. Imagine all that gold falling into the hands of... China.
Now follow the uranium. ... Niger is the world's fourth-largest producer of uranium. Its biggest customer is - surprise! - France;..." their uranium mines are concentrated very close to the Mali border.


"Our story starts with the fact that many nations have deposited gold bullion at the New York Federal Reserve. 2009, a worker at a German gold bullion trader grew suspicious of a gold bar that had come in, and decided to assay the gold content. But the drill bit broke, revealing that the core of the gold car was filled with tungsten.... the problem of tungsten filled bullion bars was widespread. Because many of the fake gold bars had the marking of US sources, nations began to ask for audits and tests of the gold bullion held in their name by the New York Federal Reserve. To the surprise of many, the New York Federal Reserve refused! Indeed the New York Federal Reserve refused the German government permission to simply look at their bullion!..... The German government started demanding their physical gold to be repatriated back to Germany.... France and the United States are scrambling to find replacement gold. Which brings us to Mali."actual

nope. It didn't make today's Irving Press.

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