Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12: Time for a change of focus?:

There's nothing much in the TandT today. But, then, there never is. And what's there is  not very useful.
But one can say that only so many times. That's why, some months ago, I began writing about the news as much as about it's quality in the Irving press. It may be time to add a new element - how we think about the news - because we, all of us, have peculiarities and inconsistencies in how we think.

For example, 200 school girls were kidnapped in Nigeria. Now, there's lots of talk of sending in troops to save them.

Our side killed hundreds of thousands of school girls in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala. So where was the call for troops, for assistance....? For the most part, it wasn't even mentioned in our news media.

Why the difference.

Essentially, the reality doesn't matter. Our side is, by definition, good. The other side is, by definition, bad. That's a very natural way to think And our politicians play on that weakness in our thinking. It might be worth taking a look at this from time to time.
There really is nothing whatever in Section A. The second to last page had pictures and story of TandT staff who received Atlantic Journalism Awards. It quite surprised me.

In major newspapers and other news media such awards are rarely even mentioned. I feel jealous.  I won national awards for both print and radio journalism. The newspaper I won a couple for gave them one line. The radio station never mentioned them. In fact, I never even got the trophies. The radio station got them.

It really doesn't matter because the truth is those awards really aren't worth a poop. I don't know anybody in the business who got ahead in it by winning awards. But, predictably, in the maritimes where most of the newspapers are pretty awful, it's a big deal with a ceremony. something you have to wear a necktie and shoes for. And it's really all just self promotion for the papers.

NewsToday has the story that Iran and the West (mostly the US) will resume talks about shutting down Iran's nuclear bomb programme. That's cute.

Nobody has even shown that Iran has or ever had a nuclear bomb programme. The major charges have come from Israel  (which does have an illegal nuclear bomb programme, and some 250 nuclear bombs) and from the US - which also has a nuclear bomb programme.

UN inspectors have been checking Iran's  nuclear development - and they have never found evidence of a bomb project. Even US intelligence officials have admitted in the past there is no such programme.

Nor has Iran threatened anybody. In fact, Iran must be the only country in the world that has not attacked anybody in over a century. The only war it has fought in modern history has been one against Saddam Hussein of Iraq -who was supplied and aided by the US.

Nor has Iran threatened anybody. It has been threatened by the US. It has been threatened by Israel which has make it clear it wants a nuclear attack on Iran ASAP. Israel has been publicly saying that for years.

But the game of sanctions and demands goes on, anyway. And most of our press is never honest in reporting. Nor does our press report that Iran was a pioneer in democracy in it's region right after World War 2 - and our side overthrew the democratic government, and installed a dictator.

None of this is in the news report.
On the same page is that story that Canada's justice research budget has been cut to save 1.2 million dollars.  Actually,  it won't save anything.

Harper is cutting back on the research because he has already decided on get tough, lots of jail time policy - even though our crime rate is down, and has been going down for decades - and though even the' get tough on crime US' is recognizing that lots of jail time has no useful effect at all.

So Harper has saved 1.2 million by cutting research. But he will now spend many times more than that in building more prisons, and providing free room and board and guards to all those extra prisoners.

Harper is an ideologue. He lives in a world in which his prejudices reveal all to him. He doesn't like experts, especially the ones who tell him he's wrong.

C3 has an interesting, related story, '"Canada, U.S. diverging on crime"' It shows why the US - which DOES listen to experts on crime - is giving up the vengeance approach to dealing with crime.

C4 has an important but sad story 'First Nations education remains an uncertainty'.The major reason, it seems, is that most First Nations leaders don't trust Harper.

Well, who does?

The big story of the day is on C1. Pro-Russian rebels have won the first referendum on rejoining Russia. And that's bad news. For a start, in that highly polarized society and the chaos, it is most unlikely that the vote was an honest one. (But who in the national government has credibility to challenge it? After all, the national government itself is an illegal one that took power by force. And it has yet to hold an election, honest or dishonest.

And then there's the missing story. According to German news media, some 400 highly trained and ruthless mercenaries hired by the US  from it's favourite thug merchant, Blackwater (now renamed Academi) have entered Ukraine.

They specialize in assassination, undercover work, impersonating people on the other side (like the pro-Russian groups, and, in that guise, carrying out public murders for the western press to take pictures, and show how evil Putin is.)  They're also used as assassins and trainers in Latin America, very useful in maintaining mining profits by murdering and/or raping employees who want raises, stuff like that. But he'll be under pressure to intervene.

It also poses quite a problem for Putin. Russia almost certainly does not want eastern Ukraine. It's an economic mess; and it's certainly not worth risking a war. However, I'm very much afraid the US does want a war, The decision has been made.
The editorial and Norbert are, once again, simple-minded about our economy. Our problem - or one of them - is that the very rich are gobbling up the wealth of this province. There is no limit to how much they want. The wage gap is real. We are going to suffer as a result. Balancing the budget will do nothing whatever to deal with that problem.

This is happening all over the world. Like it or not, we are caught up in a revolution in which the very, very rich are creating a world in which only they have power and money. That's what the "American" domination of the world advocated by The New American Century is all about.

And it's not the American people who are doing it. In fact, they have been among the first victims. We are moving to a world in which big business is free to ignore government, free to ignore national obligations, and free to ignore human needs altogether.

That's why we  have seen almost constant warfare for fifty years. And we will see it for fifty more, and fifty more and fifty more - if we are very, very lucky. Stupidity and greed are in the saddle. Such a system can be sustained only by greed, stupidity and constant violence and suppression.

But the New Brunswick budget has nothing to do with it.

Some day, I must write something about the TandT's use of the word entrepreneur. Notice they hardly ever say "small business owner"? (Actually, it doesn't mean "small business owner" -but the Tand T uses the term almost exclusively for them.)  It's cute. It's one way the news media select words to spread a propaganda message.


  1. Your section on the 'entrepreneur' angle should be longer as its not really clear what you mean.

    However, for Russia, you should stop getting your media stories from RT. You might want to do a media analysis story talking about the various ways media writers insert certain words like "could" and "suggest", which are both heavily featured in the RT article. When you watch the video's they refer to, you can clearly see that the russians are talking to a civilian, those in uniform had long gone. So how is it that people on the streets would happen to know a civilian or uniformed person was a member of Blackwater? As you say, their skill is blending in.

    Plus, I don't know Russian, however, when the guy speaks you would think he would just use the word 'blackwater' just like they'd say 'mcdonalds'. However, what the guy is actually saying only sounds very vaguely like 'blackwater', so I suspect its another word completely. And of course there is no actual link to the german media article that makes this claim (or whether its a National Enquirer type of german media).

    Other than that, I really enjoyed the section on the journalism awards. However, I did notice (I think), that CBC was touting their awards as well. But when you read the stories that actually won, it makes you wonder whether grammar was the deciding feature, or perhaps hair colourist.

  2. 1. Will secret police check everybody? Yes. Does it matter if you are an insignificant blogger? No.
    The US already monitors cars at random, keeping records of where the go and when. It is not part of an organized search. They just do it.
    Starting within months, all new European cars will have transmitters in them to show their location at all times. The rationale is that in case of an accident, emergency aid will be able to get there more quickly. That's worth over
    $250 per car.
    And, of course, the secret police will use it.
    All that is personal information about you. I have been known for over a year that there are regular meetings to pass this information on to big business.

    Secret police also work in foreign countries, collecting secret information about companies in other countries to Canadian CEOs.

    There are masses of this information, especially in Canada,US, Britain, New Zealand and Australia.

    This is all to give information to people who have power - the very people whose power we should be limiting, not augmenting.

    To just shrug this off is not a healthy sign. This is the definition of a police state. This is what Hitler and Stalin did. You cannot have government spying on you, and at the same time have a democracy.

    The original story about mercenaries was in the German media. It's scarcely a surprise. The US has been using mercenaries for twenty years or more. And these are thugs - rape, torture, murder...few talk about it but even the US has admitted to some hundreds of murders attributed to them in Iraq - since the war.

    I cannot give footnotes for all this because putting together such a long blog with all the research it requires is eating up half my life as it is.

    You might look at some other danger signals. For the first time since 1945, Japan has been given the go-ahead to build an offensive military. And guess who that is aimed at.

    China and Iran are getting together. Both feel the US threat.

    If you look at a map of overseas US bases, you will find that Russia and China are both about as encircled as it is possible for them to be. If they feel threatened, they have good reason.

    And note that Putin has not jumped at the chance to get the eastern Ukraine. he has, in fact, told them to engage in discussions with Kyev.

    The aggressive talk is coming from the US.

    It wants a war with Russia.

    The US is the most unattackable country in the world, far more so than any other country. So why does it spend more on defence than all the rest of the world? Why is it cutting spending on its own, suffering people to build more weapons?

    Yes, it's partly corruption and industry-government links.

    But it's also because most of the 'defence" spending has nothing to do with defence. It is for offence. And we are tied into that game. Conquering and controlling the world means endless war. And controlling means spying on everybody, including your own people. That's what we're facing.

  3. Oh, read the last letter to the editor of the TandT for May 13. People do not elect parties. They elect other people. And the people they elect are not responsible to a party leaders, not in a democracy. The elected people are responsible to the voters. If they cross the floor, it is dealt with by the voters on election day.

    To insist that an elected person must never cross the floor means that he is a prisoner of the party, answerable only to it. But it's the people he has to answer to.

    I know some people think they are voting for a party. They're wrong. They're wrong in law. They're wrong in their understanding of democracy.

    There are times when honest and intelligent mlas and mps must cross the floor - because their party leaders have gone off in a wrong direction.

    If the rep is wrong, then you don't vote for him next time. But an elected rep is not a puppet - or shouldn't be. Sometimes, parties are wrong , morally, intellectually, economically, in ideas they adopt. Any rep who does not oppose his party on such an occasion has betrayed the people who elected him or her.