Monday, November 18, 2013

Nov. 18: how to lie without actually lying...

"Moncton council to discuss leaked documents"  Page 1.

Now, here's something we've seen before - a news story that would never appeared in the Irving press if it hadn't appeared on CBC news. Left to itself, the TandT would have ignored it.

It's a story about a member of the family that owns the Irving press. Can you spell "conflict-of-interest"?  It's about the city council making a deal with Robert Irving to pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep his hockey team in Moncton. - and something about diapers.

That, at least, was the story as reported on CBC. But today's Irvinig press is actually a different story. They shifted the focus so it wouldn't seem to have anything to do with city councillors or the Irvings from doing anything wrong at all.

The Irving Press story is that it is wrong for citizens to know what is going on with the taxes they pay to the city council that they elect and that is anwerable to them.. Of course,they don't say that. No. They say a certain amount of confidentiality is necessary when dealing with private business. Right. Why, if we keep letting stories like this out, big business will go away and stop giving us all these wonderful chances to get ripped off.

And who was chosen to write this twisty little story that takes us away from the real one. It was Brent Mazerolle. I knew it would be him as soon as I saw the headline.

The only other story, unless you get really excited by a full page of pictures of university students dressed up in silly ways for a football game, is on A7 in which a doctor, I regret to say, says we should make everyone pay fees, even if the very poor pay only low fees.

Now, I dislike any fees because even token ones are the thin edge of the wedge for privatized health care in which the wealthy get great care, and most of the rest of us get none. (Nor do I see how the very poor are going to reduce costs to any significant degree while making only token payments. The doctor seems to be just one of those people who feels everytning should be open to private profit, and the poor are beneath contempt.)

Dr. Furlong also has a quite false statement. Referring to the years 1900 to 1920, he says, "We've quadrupled costs in 20 years." Really? Damn. And silly me has been thinking this is just 2013.

Then he says, we don't have better health as a result of health care. Really? I'd like to see more information on that. After all, if Dr. Furlong is right, and if they don't do us any good, we should just get rid of doctors and hospitals altogether. It would not break my heart to see the Dr. Furlongs of this world go somewhere else.

There's an interesting story in NewsToday, page 1"Tornadoes sweep through U.S." It's a story of tremendous winds coming very late in the season, and wiping out whole towns. A weather expert says storms in that area are usually weaker, and usually do not appear at all so late in the season. However, he added, temperatures have been getting higher, and that unleashes bigger storms.

Nothing to do with climate change.

That one page is it for world news. Once again, reading the Irving press is remarkably like staring at your own bellybutton all day.

Gwynne Dyer has a dynamite column on the catastrophic conditions in the Middle East and North Africa that could drive us into a share of that catastrophe. I hope it works out as the disaster he says it will be because, if it doesn't, the disaster will be an even worse one.

Dyer thinks that sectarian wars and chaos will continue, but there will be peace with Iran. I wish I could be so confident. But Israel and Saudi Arabia are determined on a war - an officially and heavily enforced Jewish state is in league with the most notoriously rigid Islamic dictatorship in the world. And both, though dependent historically on the US, have pretty well publicly told Obama to go to hell on the issue.

And that's quite a sign of the collapse of American influence in the world.

Steve Malloy has a column, a very angry one, on how some (very few) native shale gas protestors defaced the Canadian flag. That's dangerous topic that requires careful handling.

Canada is full of racism. There is considerable racism directed at native peoples by Canadians who are both ignorant and bigoted.(Check out two of today's letters to the editor.)  Harper has played on the ignorance and bigotry to effectively declare war on native peoples. Beware of encouraging that racism.

The incident of dishonouring the Canadian flag was the word of only two or three people. A full column on that gives new life to all the bigots.

Dishonouring the flag is certainly wrong. And that means it was wrong when we dishonoured the flag by deliberately starving thousands of native peoples to death on the prairies. We dishounoured it when we forced native parents to give up their children to government schools that subjected them to orphanship, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, and even death.

We dishonoured it when we put innocent Canadian citizens into prison camps in both world wars.

We have committed some quite horrible acts under cover of our flag. And we all did it. That's a lot worse than what two or three people did at the blockade.

You also say you don't have enough information about fracking to come to a conclusion. Sorry. You have to come to a conclusion one way or the other. You are not just an innocent bystander.

And why don't you have enough information? Dare I guess it is because the newspaper you work for has withheld information? Has lied? Has spread propaganda? Has refused to dicuss the only valid scientific evidence we had - in the Cleary report?

If you don't have enough information, can't you at least tell which side is actively lying and hiding information? And can't you guess which side stands to gain from lying.

Anyway, the issue is not just fracking. It is the continued encouragement of fossil fuels, the use of which is visibly making our climate steadily more dangerous. If you want evidence of that, check out the Arctic ice cap which is now back to where it was almost 150,000 years ago.
  Think of what that means to water levels, water temperatures, marine life....

And if you want the Canadian flag to be honoured, a good way to do it might be to get rid of a premier and a prime minister who dishonour it by having some of the worst records in the world for taking action to save us from the consequences -and all so greedy billionaires can get even richer before the inevitable happens.

 I present here an item that appeared in a native publication. I don't know enough about the subject to comment on the publication's general worth. But I do have some experience of one topic it covers.

It says the SWN security guards are led by an ex-con who did time for violent crime. He later became an RCMP informant and maybe, more than that, an agent provocateur. (And there is also, it says, some connection between his firm and the Irvings. Of course, that can't be true, not of the sort of people who patronize the Irving Chapel where you can see God's flowers blooming, and hear  a high class preacher.)

Coming from my one-time job with the YMCA working with gangs who received considerable attention from the police, I know a good deal about the use of gang members as informants. It's a standard practice. And I also knew of informants who committed crimes to provoke incidents that would give police a reason to move in.

In later years, I would spend hours in a prison with 25 or so men in for violent crimes, mostly murder, all of whom swore they were innocent. Here, too, there was a lot of interplay with police - not all of it to the credit of the police.

What it leads to is this. There often develops a special relationship between police and criminals, a relationship that allows both groups to play loose with the law. Informants can be helpful. But the world that mixes informants and police can be an ugly one.

So let's take SWN security.  The article says the leader of it has been a violent criminal. Is it possible that other guards are criminal?  Of course. Both crime and security require the same quality, a love of violence. That's why I also saw people I thought headed for crime who ended up as policemen. They were attracted by the idea of being able to use violence, "to keep people in line". And I well remember one policeman who left the force to go into some murky business, and who set up his partmer for a gangland murder.

What happens with a group like SWN security is it ends up working in close cooperation with the police  Sounds good?

Not really. The duty of the police is to enforce the law. The duty of the police is not to form an alliance with SWN for the profit of SWN.  Serving the public and the law is not the same as serving SWN.

The police have to be ready to take action against SWN security if such is justified, if, for example, SWN provokes a dangerous situation for its own benefit. But that won't happen if the police and SWN become allies.

Some informants are necessary. But they also take you down into a murky world in which the difference between police and criminals can become vague.

1 comment:

  1. Just want to say that what you say in your last comments are very true, read No angel. An undercover cops tries to infiltrate the hells angels. Very interesting.