Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24: The Press as Pimp

Oh, first, let me begin with an apology. Yesterday, I said that Harper would soon become chair of an international commission on environmental protection of the Arctic. I was wrong. A Canadian will become chair. (That Canadian will be chosen by Harper - so it's much the same as him being chair - but I was wrong in saying it would be him.) I am saddened by the error. I am, in fact, very angry about it. So you can be sure that, like Harper, I shall find someone to blame for it.
Pimping - there is a story that is not in today's TandT. It may well be the only news medium in the world that is not carrying the story. This is the case of two Moslems who attacked a British soldier in London with knives and a cleaver. This has given rise to an explosion of violence against Moslems in Britain.

The press (except the TandT) generally condemns the attack by calling it savage, inhuman, brutal, murderous. And so it was. Oh, and, of course, they were Moslem "extremists".

Now, the US and Britain have indiscriminately killed Moslem men, women and children by the million. In Iraq alone, they have left hundreds of thousands of orphans in a country that is too shattered to care for them.

Britain has savagely, inhumanly, brutally, murderously been killing Moslems for over a hundred and fifty years, with the US happily joining in for the last sixty or so. They have killed with knives, swords, cluster bombs (the equivalent of millions of the bombs used in Boston), drones.....

Have you ever seen that slaughter of innocents described in our press as inhuman, brutal, murderous? Have you ever seen it called Christian extremism? Have you ever seen it called terrorism or, as Bush would say, "terra-rism".

In describing similar acts, the press deliberately uses different words to describe them, giving the impression that killing one British soldier with a knives is butchery and extremism. But killing  a million defenceless  men, women and children is - well - a sign of impressive military power.

In effect, our news media (all of them) routinely lie to us, and routinely build hatred and hysteria.

(I don't know how the TandT could have missed this story. It's obvious that whoever edits NewsToday couldn't find his own bellybutton using both hands.)
Another sign of doziness is the failure to mention the hunger strike at Guatanamo. Most of the prisoners there want to die. It's not a political show. Most have been living in solitary, in wire cages, and suffering torture, for ten years and more. They don't want to go on living.

Almost all of them are innocent. The US military admits that. In fact, it has long ago announced there will be no charges against them because there is not the slightet evidence against them. And for that they have suffered ten years of hell. But you don't see our press calling the US "terrarist" or brutal or inhuman for what it is doing. And the TandT, almost uniquely in the world, hasn't even noticed it's happening.

In reality, of course, there is no war on terrorism, never was. It was an excuse from the start to spread American military power in to order make profits for big business. Remember Libya, the country Canada bombed to bring democracy? Well, it doesn't have democracy. In fact, it's a disaster area with no government at all. But American oil companies now control its oil fields. And that's why we bombed and killed.

A multi-sided disaster is shaping up in Syria. That war was started by the US and Britain working through their dictator friends in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The situation now is that if Assad wins, a hundred thousand and more people have been slaughtered for no reason. If the 'rebels' win, it may well become a Jihadist state  - right next to Israel.

Russia has sent a major fleet into the area because, like the US, it has no wish to see a Jihadist win. It also seems to have drawn a red line on US interference in Africa. and the Middle East. This is the most dangerous war we have seen since 1945.

That's what happens when big business takes over foreign policy. As has been the case with domestic policy  (especially here in New Brunswick) we have handed over control of foreign policy to people whose only qualifications to run it are greed, self-interest, and arrogance. They are very capable, indeed, of making money. Unfortunately, they have proven brainless at everything else.

But our news media will never say so. Think of the word "pimp".

A reader sent me the opinion above. I urge you to read it. Whether you agree with the sentiments of the writer is not important. What is important is to see the degree of anger that pervades American life. That anger has consequences. And we (including you) are not immune to the fallout.

Meanwhile, and unnoticed by the TandT, parts of Italy are actually starving. Living standards in Italy, Spain, Greece, Britain, France - and much of the US - have actually fallen below depression-era standards. The world economy gives no sign of reviving. What should we do?

I know. Let's borrow a hundred million for a civic centre. Then the whole world will come to Moncton to spend all the money it doesn't have.

And it will be charitable. The nice people who own Highfield Square will get rid of a piece of contaminated land that is constantly falling with the general economy, and that nobody wants - and they'll get top dollar. So, even if we don't build a civic centre, we'll be doing our good deed for the day for millionaires.
The TandT also hasn't noticed recent polls on Harper's Conservatives. They're in the toilet. We have three more years of a government which has the support of, maybe, ten percent of the Canadian people. Boy! Good thing we have Richard Goguen in Moncton.

(It's actually a dangerous situation. The least popular party in Canada, led by the most dangerous PM we have ever had, has three more years of power. The leading party (with almost fifty percent support) has a leader of inadequate experience, leading a party that, decades ago, lost any sense of what it stands for.
There is a new columnist - every Friday at the top of the op ed page.

He is boring. And he has no clue whatever about his subject. He defines himself as centre-right, and a conservative. Then he launches into laboured explanations of what the words conservative and liberal mean. Not only are the explanations self-contradictory and hopelessly tangled, but it's obvious he has no idea what the words mean.

For example, he defines conservatives as those who to maintain social and political traditions. (in fact, the more appropriate word for such people is reactionary). Then he lists George Washington as a conservative!  Washington was the man who led a revolution to destroy social and political traditions, including the monarcy, the concept of aristocracy. He advocated individual rights which, if we consult the Osford dictionary or any competent scholar, is a liberal concept.

Then he lists Ayn Rand as a conservative. In fact, Ayn Rand preached a gospel that glorified greed and self-interest. She saw rights as things which existed only for the very rich.

Brian Mulroney adhered to conservative ideals in government? What planet does this guy live on? Mulroney never had any ideals of any sort. He built his career on serving those with lots and lots of money, and who were willing to give some of it to him.

Then he says that the drift toward a "nanny" state is something conservatives oppose because it is contrary to personal liberty. that is utter, pompous, bullshit and ignorance. The "nanny" state, in fact, originated in conservative thought which saw society not as individuals but as a whole unit on its own.  And personal liberty has no connection with conservatism. It is a liberal concept.

In reality, the Conservative party is not conservative; the Liberals are not liberal: and the NDP is a mixture of liberal and conservative values.

Then he defines one type of conservatism as liberalism????

This is a man of strong opinions who has no idea what he's talking about. But it looks pompously impressive. Sorry. I can really get impatient at these people who rave on about liberal and conservative without having a clue what either word means.

For just a moment, I missed the columns of Rod Allen and Bian Cormier.

Oh - yeah - he also referred to free trade as a conservative principle. That would have surprised every conservative prime minister of Canada until Mulroney. They were all fiercely opposed to free trade. The Liberals were founded to bring about free trade; but they, too, changed their minds over a hundred years ago. This is a column which shows no understanding of the meaning of words, and not even a glimmer of knowledge of the history of this country.

He'll fit right in at the TandT.

The last column is by Margaret McCain. She had a column yesterday that I sympathized with, but found bland. She had another one today. (I guess it helps to be named McCain.) Today's column had a stronger point - and a very good one, I thought. But it is too gentle to have the impact it deserves.

This is where an editor comes in. He or she should have helped Mrs. McCain to blend the two columns into one - and to give more force to the second half of her second column. That would have made it all much clearer and more effective.

As it is I would strongly advise a careful reading of that part of the second column in which she talks of Canada's neglect of its children - and the terrible consequences of that neglect. Mrs. McCain is obviously a gentle and caring person. But this is an argument that needs power and anger as well.

It reminded me of so many children I have known who never got the attention that would have made them valuable and productive citizens. I thought particularly of two boys I taught in grade 7. They were pretty wild kids outside and, certainly, not much interested in learning. But I liked them. We could talk together, talk seriously, and enjoy it.

Both were dead by the age of 18, killed in shoot-outs with police.


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