Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sept. 10: And the big story of the day is...

...headline, page 1...Riverview man is new, national president of Ducks Unlimited. Wow! Get your paper fast before this one sells out. Now, I certainly don't intend to suggest that the choice of a local person for president of Ducks Unlimited is not newsworthy. Of course, it is. But it's not front page stuff, not when theh person in charge of developing out gas regulations is being investigated for faulty credentials, not when our premier, who told us our railways were perfectly safe is now urging premiers across Canada to take action to make them safe, not when we don't know whether crude oil is still being sent here by rail, not when we have no word of any search for the cause of the Lac Megantic disaster, not when we have a prime minister who supports a US attack on Syria but will not commit this country to it, not when the situation in Syria is already one of the major events of modern history. But Dear Abby, Ducks Unlimited, the governor of Maine approving the pipeline and suchlike get more coverage than any of the above. That fits the pattern of an American survey of US newspapers showing they gave three times as much coverage to Miley Cyrus as to Syria. The role of the private news media has become not to inform us but to keep us ignorant with page after page of trivia scattered with propaganda. The TandT may be the worst and most insulting of the bunch; but its general style is no exception to the rule. The editorial slobbers all over premier Alward's new chief of staff as the greatet man since Adam. But it's not clear why. The result is an editorial that looks like, and is, brainless propaganda. Norbert offers a column about Maritime migration, giving us information we already know - and then going nowhere with it. His one suggestion is his usual half-wit one tbat the government is too big, and spends too much money. There is no mention that perhaps big busines is what is too big, so big it runs the government. It also takes too much and gives too little. Government is the only institution we have that gives us power. Destroy that power, and we destroy ourselves. And that is preccisely what we are doing. Alan Cochrane writes a column on how it's not nice to fight on Main St. Something to think about. There's a good column by Suzuki, and a mostly good, partly puzzling one by Alec Bruce. Most of harper's piece is about an essay that appeared in Harper's Magazine. That part of it is excellent. He talks about the great recession triggered by big business on Wall St. which ran wild because of lack of government controls. (Read that, Norbert, and think a little bit.) The leading capitalists behaved not only irresponsibly but even criminally - and then got rewarded with so much tax money that millions of Americans have been impoverished. (One in six now live on food stamps.) The essay is no exaggeration. Indeed, it's really far worse than the essay suggests. That mix of greed and power (combined with the greed and power of the "defence" industries) has created a national debt so great that it can never be paid - not even if the American economy improves. And it's not going to improve. There's nothing to improve with. All those lost American jobs did not cease to exist. Those jobs still exist - in foreign countries where big business can hire people dirt cheap. That's what free trade is all about - cheap labour and freedom to pollute combined with low to zero taxes for the super wealthy. Most new jobs in the US are at the lowest possible pay. Occasionally, employment figures seem to improve slightly. But that's a statistical illusion. Those who give up any hope of finding a job or who cannot find one within a certain time-frame are no longer counted as being unemployed. For purposes of statistics, they cease to exist. And so - whoopee - we can all pretend that employment rates are improving. As well, the American debt is so high that the dollar is really worthless. But government keeps big business happy simply by printing more paper every year - and then forcing the rest of the world to use the US dollar as the unit of international trade. How do they enforce that? By invading countries that won't play by their rules. Thus the endless wars of the last dozen years, each of them costing even more money the US doesn't really have - and each of them forcing the nuclear powers, including the US, to consider using nuclear weapons before it's too late. According to the Yale Journal of International Affairs, the US already has a plan for a pre-emptive strike on China. Of course. Big business has to dispose of China as a competitor before it's too late, before China calls in its loans or dumps its American dollars or simply drops the dollar as a unit of exchange. But a US military which cannot defeat even Vietnam or Afghanistan with conventional warfare, certainly cannot defeat a China. Thus the need for a pre-emptive strike. That's part of the reason that an attack on Syria could have terrible consequences. So I don't disagree with what Alec Bruce says or with what the article in Harper's said. Indeed,I think they could have gone a lot further. So, why does Bruce, in his last paragraph, seem to trivialize it? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Speaking of Syria, the TandT has two stories on it. One, on page C3, is a propaganda piece which gives itself away with loaded language. I have no coubt that Assad of Syria is not a nice guy. But he did not invade anybody, and he did not begin the civil war, and he did not murder Christians. That war was started by the US and it middle east allies. And the people fighing against Assad are not 'rebels'. They are foreign mercenaries paid and armed by the US and its friends. The other story is on the proposal that the quarrel with the US be settled by Syria turning over its chemical weapons for storage. That places Obama in a tough spot. The US suffered its greatest diplomatic defeat ever when most of the world rejected its proposal to attack Syria. Now, it is Putin, of all people, taking centre stage as the "good guy". Now, Obama will be damned if he does attack - and damned by American big business, by Israel, by Saudi Arabia if he doesn't. My guess is he will attack. It will be interesting to see the propaganda buildup in our newspapers for the coming week. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ On the positive side, there is a hell of a simple but good and intelligent letter to the editor, "Final solution for Main Street?"

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