Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15: Never start a story in the middle....

That title is for a little later on. First, the oustanding features of today's paper.......uh...well....oustanding...uh...

Page A 7 has a happy story, "Opportunity exists to trim civil service even more:statistics"

Well, yeah, statistics also show that with more people living beyond an age of political usefulness, we can trim them even more. Statistics show we have too many politicians in this province. Statistics show everything - and nothing.

Statistics, we are told, show we have a higher proportion of civil servants and teachers than Nova Scotia does. Yes. So what does that prove? Maybe Nova Scotia doesn't have as many civil servants and teachers as it should.

What we need has nothing to do with statistics. What we need are enough people to do the service that is required.  And this is just one example of where the business model doesn't work. Governments don't exist to make profits. They exist to meet needs. Nowhere in this story is there even a mention of needs, of what it is we need civil servants for.

This is a silly and irrelevant story. Any editor should have noticed that.

Well, maybe not any editor for the Irving press. This story is really a government propaganda release. It tells us nothing about needs. What it really tells us is how New Brunswick governments don't really give a damn about needs.

There's nothing else in section A.

Section C, page 1 has a story on Ukraine - a situation that has become much more dangerous. But I'll deal with that later.
The editorial drools over the success of public/private projects, but gives only one example - the cleanup of the water supply. And even there, it shows not the slightest evidence  that this was due to the work of P3s. He then suggests the public has been won over by  P3s, again without the slightest evidence it has been.

However, if P3s are so steaming hot, then I have a great idea. So far, P3 has meant the private sector making money out of public sector contracts. Well, if that's so red-hot, why don't we urge the private sector  (the name Irving springs to mind) to contract some of its work to the public sector?
Norbert rants about the CBC. Norbert, please learn to say something useful, and not just foam at the mouth. And please learns something about your topic. TV across North America is suffering shrinking audiences.

And consider the wisdom of a person who writes for the Irving press criticizing the CBC for not having a bigger news audience. The Irving press has almost no news audience. It can't. It has almost no news. And the news is does have is biased....oh, hell, let's not play with words....the news it does h ave is lying propaganda.

And get over your hatred of the CBC to notice the greater problem with radio and TV. They have been losing audience for years, a problem which has forced them into appealing to the lowest human instincts with shows that attract audiences by holding up guests to humiliation  (Jerry Springer), by running news that is pure propaganda and/or trivial.  (as the Irving press does.)

On the rare occasions I watch Springer and his ilk, I am reminded of the Roman Coliseum where crowds cheered to see others get killed. It was the debased and useless and powerless getting a kick out of others getting the humiliation they knew that they, the audience, actually deserved. One could say the same for WWF and hosts of other shows.

There is a deterioration of news quality in our media, and there is a downgrading to appeal to the mob - as in Roman days.

Norbert, think carefully. You are part of the problem.

Now, the problem with starting a story in the middle....

This is what almost all of our news media have been doing on Ukraine. Their starting point is the Russian seizure of Crimea. Looked at that way, this is obviously Russian aggression against those nice Ukrainians who just wanted to establish a democracy, and had who had overthrown their elected government to replace it with the choices of an armed mob in the streets.

Okay. Sounds democratic to me.

But that's the middle of the story.

The beginning of the story is that somebody supplied money, organization, weapons and leadership to stage a coup against the democratically elected government of Ukraine. Three cheers for democracy.
That somebody, according to the assistant secretary of state of the US, was the United States.

The purpose was to advance NATO to the border of that awful Russia, probably to line the border with missiles aimed at Russia. Imagine if Russia staged a coup in Canada, then got itself invited into Canada, and sent in troops to patrol the US border and to establish missile sites aimed at the US.

What would the US do?

There can be quite a difference when you tell the whole story.

In even broader terms, the story of the the post-1945 world is the story of the failure to develop some sort of   world government and law through the UN. It just never happened.

And it never happened because the major powers didn't want it to happen.

Right through World War 11, Britain, France, Russia, the US never changed their long-term policy a bit. They were not looking for a world order of any sort. They were looking to rebuild the empires they had lost, or to expand what they already had.

Both Britain and France fought colonial wars for years after 1945. The Russians concentrated on the war territory they had gained in Eastern Europe.  The US, even as World War 11 was being fought was making plans to grab the fallout of the British and French empires, especially in Asia. That's why, early in 1945, they warned the British not to liberate Hong Kong, and the French not to liberate French Indo-China. (French Indo-China later became Vietnam. That Vietnam war was in planning even before WW11 was ended.)

The  great prize was China which the US hoped to win with the he help of Chiang Kai-Shek, a Christian, and probably the world's largest drug dealer. He was also a mass murderer. The US later would criticize Mao Tse-Tung for mass murder. But Chiang, armed by American weapons, was no slouch at mass murder.

That's the whole story. And that's what is taking us to the edge of the abyss in Ukraine. Beware of news stories that start in the middle.


Good news. There is an article that will soon be appearing in an American, academic journal, "Perspectives on Politics".

It produces evidence that it is not a democracy. That US is what is properly called an oligarchy. That is, it is ruled but a tiny elite of the very wealthy who are highly corrupt and corrupting. Public opinion and politicians don't matter a damn. That has been developing at a rapid pace since the 1950s.

What's good about it? Well, that's the same system as Russia. And Britain, and China, with Canada rapidly moving in the same direction.

So maybe the UN will be a success after all as we adopt a single form of government for the whole world - oligarchy.

For an advance look at the themes of this article to appear in Perspectives on Politics, take a look at



  1. Sometimes I think you go too far, sometimes I don't think you go far enough! But first.....Jerry Springer?? Dude, that was SO twenty years ago!

    But as for oligarchies, Canada has put the US to shame for, well, ever. If the US is not a democracy, then certainly Canada is nowhere even close. Neither are democracies of course, never have been, never claimed to be. However, there are and have been more democratic tools available in the US than in Canada. Many american towns still make yearly decisions at a town hall, the states that now have legal marijuana do so because those states permit people to gather petitions and force a vote. No such thing has EVER existed in Canada.

  2. Yeah. I stopped watching TV a long time ago. Then i found all the old TV shows you youtube that long ago I thought were great stuff - Have Gun will travel, Wanted:Dead or Alive.
    My, what ghastly stuff they were. How could I ever have watched that.
    But surely Canada and the US do claim to be democracies - and most Canadians would probably say they are. (I think american are catching on.)

  3. Well, POLITICIANS will certainly say that, but we know what their speeches are worth. The US is a republic, Canada is a constitutional monarchy.

    Canada doesn't even call itself a 'republic', which at least has public in the name.

    Both the words 'constitutional' and 'monarchy' are virtually the very OPPOSITE of 'democracy'. The fact is that there are certain things even our elected bodies can't change (as Harper has recently found out, and which you can argue has both good features and bad).

    I did a quick search of civics handouts from elections canada, and certainly for young people they have names like "Your Country, Your Democracy". And the fact that young people have the lowest voter turnout of any demographic shows just how little fooled they are by such propaganda and get wise to it by the time they are old enough to vote.

    And just keep in mind that Cuba calls itself a 'democracy', even communist China and the old communist regime of the soviet union CALLED itself a democracy, in fact held that they were the highest forms of democracy. It doesn't make it true in their case, it doesn't make it true in ours. The only country in the world that can remotely call itself democratic is Switzerland, where people can petition and overturn their very constitution if they are so inclined. Democracy is at least a little closer in Europe where they at least have an electoral system that makes sure your vote counts to elect a party which holds similar ideals to voters, but Canada and the US don't even have THAT.

    As for canadians themselves, I suspect those who give virtually no thought to politics would claim that simply because the media pundits and politicians say it so often and those are the only voices they hear. Tell them the actual definition of 'democracy' and then ask them how that lines up with the amount of control they think they have over what happens in their country and I suspect you'll get a much different answer.

    I listened today to a report about the lawsuit against CSEC, which is Canada's version of the NSA, and if anything, Canada is far worse than the US because while their dirty laundry is at least out in the open by a pretty lousy media system, in Canada we have problems that are identical, and they are virtually never even discussed-leading canadians to be more smug about a system of government which is actually worse.

  4. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=6677116&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S1537592709991770

  5. The article above is interesting, but keep in mind their quote "oligarchy need not be inconsistent with democracy". But the article goes on to state that wealth provides access 'in certain key areas'. Now, what part of that is NOT true in Canada? Probably even moreso. The vast majority of canadians oppose the seal hunt, yet the government sinks millions into it (not starting the argument about seal hunting, the fact is that in a 'democracy', if 80% of the population is in favour of a certain action and the government ISN"T enacting it, then how can it be called democratic?)

    And that doesn't even get into the oil sands. Particularly with the Harper government, there hasn't really been hardly ANY legislation that has been tailored to anybody but business interests. That's pretty much the current definition of 'fascism', which is pretty much the opposite of democracy.