Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 3: stop press news...

....NB beer sales dropping.

what other newspaper in the world would run drivel like that as a big, front-page story?
In fact, there's only one story in all of section A worth reading - and that's worth it only because it's such a fine example of propaganda presented as news.

A U.S. State department official at the sentencing hearing of private Bradley Manning testified that his Wikileaks revelations harmed U.S. efforts to bring human rights to the world as people in some countries became afraid to deal with US officials to get help with human rights.

Sure, all over the world, people are turning to the US to help them get human rights. Come off it. In fact, the US is today the single most important nation in the crushing of human rights all over the world. The TandT story refers to the people "seeking rights" as "activists". Actually, the correct word would be spies. Choice of words is important.

There's nothing in NewsToday unless you really, really love to look at a whole page of people grinning inanely and holding up giant cheques. 
Bill Beliveau offers a mediocre high school essay on why we should preserve the Senate. He's probably right that Harper cannot, on his own, change the Senate or abolish it. But he's dead wrong in thinking it can be reformed.

There is no point to electing a Senate when we already have an elected body in the House of Commons. Forget this rubbish about it representing "regions". Elected bodies represent people, not regions or mountains or lakes. And if it is appointed, we will get the same clowns we've been getting for almost a hundred and fifty years.

The Senate gives sober second thought to legislation? That's a crock. Most of them are deadheads who rarely have a sober first thought, let alone a second one. They are also, for the most part, ignorant political hacks. (I have known some honest and intelligent senators. But they were damn few.)

I have also appeared before a few Senate committees, notably the one on the film "The Valour and the Horror". This was a highly political (Conservative) committee designed to do a hatchet job on the film - which was about World War Two. They fawned all over witnesses who criticized the film, and squashed anyone who defended it.

I got off lightly because, though I defended the film, I spent most of my time pointing out that the senators on the committee seemed almost entirely ignorant of the history of the war, and quite ignorant of even simple elements of military practice. They didn't know, for example, that most bombing in World War Two was wildly inaccurate. They didn't know that most Canadian troops sent to Hong Kong were hopelessly unready and poorly equipped for combat. They were really a rare collection of 
bozos to be telling Canadians what films they should allowed to see about the war.

Norbert's column suggests he really needs to lie down and rest in a quiet place. His faithful readers, of whom I am one, will remember that yesterday he said it was obvious that the Toronto police were completely right in shooting a knife-wielding man what was alone in a stopped trolley car. People who disagreed with him were "nervous nellies", chronic doubters, and even - ugh - that dreadfully unprofessional CBC.

Today, again referring to that Toronto case, he says unethical media and individuals jump to conclusions without adequate evidence. Again, there's lots of name calling - pandering, sleazy tabloids, activist driven fears about shale gas which overlook facts, news outlets which allow anti-social media who pander to the ignorant.....

Norbert. Yesterday, with no evidence, you jumped to the conclusion that the Toronto police were right to shoot. Today, on that same case, you say the available facts are few. Norbert, if you don't know the facts, how the hell could you jump to that conclusion? Doesn't that make you a "nervous nellie"? And you pour contempt on all those who want fuller information.

Of course, somenpeople who jump to the conclusion that the police were wrong are ignoring facts and working on prejudice. And of course such people can be wrong and sleazy, ignorant and prejudiced..
And so, obviously, can you, Norbert. By your own admission, you were wrong, sleazy, ignorant and prejudiced in your column of yesterday.  Almost all of your columns are just one ignorant and bigoted rant after another.

There are certainly questions I would like to know answers to. Nine shots were fired. That's a lot of shots. Now, think hard, Norbert. If all nine were fired by police, it suggests the target was not up close to an officer and threatening him. It also suggests a lot of misses (unless they were pumping slugs into a corpse.) It's lucky a bystander wasn't killed.

Your headline is right, though. "Some news media are tossing away their credibility".

Brent Mazerolle breaks away from his usual "What I did last summer" story to write on the same police shooting. He does a much better job of it than Norbert did.  

Solid column by Gwynne Dyer. It's about the army takeover in Egypt - and one should pay special attention to a point he mentions only briefly - "that permanent collusion between well-fed Egyptian soldiers and the foreign military and commercial interests who feed them".

We are encouraged to believe that most wars are caused by religion or politics. In fact, most wars are caused by capitalism that has run so far out of control that it has reversed roles and taken over the powers of government. That's what Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia have really been all about.

Indeed, almost all western wars of recent centuries have been fought for that reason.  
That's what the War of 1812 was about - though you would never guess if from our official "celebrations". Our news media kid us that they are for democracy when, in fact, our specialty is more often in destroying democracies - as we did in Iran and Guatemala.  An out of control capitalism feeds on poverty, dependence, dictatorship - and muscle in the form of troops. We westerners - including leading Canadian companies - have been responsible for millions of deaths in places like Congo.

As we watch China is its switch to capitalism, the potential for war is something to worry about. For thousands of years, China was probably the least aggressive country in the world. The only wars were against potential invaders.

That pattern of leadership was smashed when western capitalists used military force to open China to their trade. That experience forced China into more than a century of social and political chaos marked by forced addiction to opium, starvation, disease, looting by western business, and internal fighting.

The question now is whether China can control its capitalist leaders. Or will it go the way the west has gone, to hand over real political and military power to the capitalists?  (oops. sorry. I should say "entrepreneurs". It's such a nicer word.)

If China becomes like us, we're in real trouble.
Oh, speaking of China - loved the Whatever section with its big story on NB students in China, and lots of good, thoughtful student columns, including one on the China trip. How I envy them. I lived and worked in China for a time. Loved it.
And a final thought. When will our tough as nails reporters ask the big questions about Lac Megantic?
Why were the railway regulations changed a year ago? Who did it? At whose request?

This wasn't just a minor accident. Almost fifty are dead. Doesn't anybody give a damn?

Obviously not.


  1. Yes, why were the railway safety regulations changed last year? Where are the investigative journalists who should be digging into this story? Do the corporations control everyone and everything is this world now?

    1. I think it's near total. Like a snowball headed for hell.

    2. I *think* the "bigger story" is being missed. If you happen to go to the MM+A website Irving services at the Port of Saint John are being offered as MM+A's own, hardly a situation where two companies are "at arm's length" from each other. (as MM+A was abandoning trackage in N. Maine Irving was right there, with their hand out, forming the Maine Northern railway)

  2. Canadians should be alerted, then they could be justifiably appalled at the number of Canadian Companies ransacking third world nations resources, often by buying their military via the purchasing of their politicians. Had we a PM not under corporate control, would that person put an end to this miner's haven that Canada has become?

  3. Just over the weekend, as I sat in the Irving chapel, I reflected on the "sin of omission" as it pertains to the Irving enterprises, we are familiar with, and found them wanting. I am SURE God does too!