Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 13: You say tomahto and I say tomayto....

When the current government came to power in Ukraine, it was by an act of violence that is properly called a coup. But that word was rarely used in North American reporting of the affair. Why? Because coup raises unpleasant images in our minds. Without even realizing, most people automatically think of violence, of attack on a legitimate government, of a cunning and illegal assault on law and order.  Which it what it was.

But most of the papers called it an overthrow, a gentler word that suggests people fighting for freedom. That choice of word was one of the first indications that the American government had a hand in it. News media actually employ people who know how to manipulate words to manipulate us We're seeing another example in New Brunswick.

Entrepreneur is a nice-sounding word. It has touch of French sophistication, too, like maitre d'  - or - madame. That's why you see it so often in New Brunswick papers (but much less often in the rest of the world.) That's because it's part of a very big propaganda campaign in the Irving press.

Entrepreneur is used to denote businessmen because 'businessmen' has the wrong connotations. It's harsh, sexist, unpleasant. We could call them capitalists but that's even more yuckie-poo. But capitalism is a harsh word, and conveys an image, again masculine, and fat and bald and greedy and ruthless.

Entrepreneur is so much nicer, so much more sophsiticated. It depicts a person of energy and alertness.

Unfortunately, none of those nice words is what entrepreneur means. Funny how Norbert, our word scholar, seems never to have noticed that. An entrepreneur is a person who owns and operates a business - AND WHO TAKES UNUSUAL FINANCIAL RISKS TO DO SO.

That last part about taking unusual risks is the key to the meaning of entrepreneur. And especially note the word UNUSUAL. If there are no unusual risks, there is no entrepreneur.

Small business owners might well be entrepreneurs. They often have to take  unusual financial risks. But big business? Please. When you can get a whole forest by forcing a sweetheart deal on a premier you own, there ain't no unusual risk. This province, like all of them, is a welfare state for big business.

The newspapers are using a word they don't understand because they're not in the business of selling news. They're in the business of spreading propaganda for the boss. And the key to their message is that capitalism is good, that big business people are the only ones who know what they're doing, that big business creates wealth (nicely ignoring the fact that it was a record of spreading poverty and destruction wherever it goes.)

Well, it does create wealth - for itself. That's why we have a recession (part of the fallout from giving hundreds of billions to automakers and bankers who had driven themselves broke by incompetent and even criminal behaviour.) But taking billion dollar handouts from government is not what I would call taking an unusual financial risk. Nor is invading Iraq to steal its oil. Nor is murdering a quarter million Guatemalans to keep the rest as cheap labour..

Capitalism has the wrong image. So the propaganda sells the image it wants by using the word entrepreneurship. They've even taken it into the schools with their programme on entrepreneurship. The intention of the propaganda campaign and the use of schools to spread it? To cement the idea that capitalism is good and exciting and adventuresome - no matter what your eyes may tell you.

So we are beginning the wastage of a half hour a day every day of thirteen years of school to propagandizing our children. And this is cheered on by newspapers who also say our schools should get back to basics.

There's nothing basic about propaganda. What we have to do is to get our journalists back to basics so they know what words like 'entrepreneur' mean.

As usual, there's nothing much in section A - though there is an excellent photo of me with my samurai sword on A4.

A 6 has a worth-reading story "Service dogs provide valuable help for PTSD sufferers."  That's good news because our veterans certainly aren't getting much help from our federal government. It's somebody else's service dog.

C1 has a must read "Final vote today on elections overhaul". This is a Harper bill which strikes a death blow to democracy in Canada. It changes election rules to markedly favour the very, very rich.

Harper's contempt for democracy is so great that it amounts to a frenzy. Add to that his absurd public skirmishes with people who don't agree with him (as in his public tizzy fit when the Supreme Court would not permit a ruling he wanted) and we have to consider the real possiblity that we have a mind unbalanced at the head of this country. He's backed by sheep like our local mp (who can't say b-a-a, but who makes for it with an inane smirk.) And this man still has some time before an election.

C7 has a not very informative story on those who want to separate from Ukraine, and to join Russia. So far, the only man urging a peaceful solution to this is Putin. He has now, several times, advised them to hold talks with Kyiv, and to stay in Ukraine.  All the threats of violence are coming from our side.

Sorry, all you Obama lovers. But all the evidence is that important people in American government want a war with Russia- and Ukraine is their excuse - just 9/11 was their excuse for Iraq and Afghanistan. And they have lying news media to support them..

On C8, "Antarctic ice sheet beginning to collapse". Worse, it many have passed the point of no return which means, for one, disaster for coastal and low lying areas like New York.

I want the thank all those oil billionaires who spent so much money to tell us that there is no such thing as climate change.
On the editorial page, Norbert supports the idea of docking cabinet ministers  part of their salaries if they go over budget.  Norbert, you can give them tattoos inked on by sadistic amateurs and make them run through the streets naked on a winter day; it will have no effect on the situation.

Minimally, you have to take a hard look at the effects big business has on us. (which you refuse to do do.) And even that wouldn't do it. The whole world is in an economic crisis that was not caused by the New Brunswick budget. And fiddling with the New Brunswick budget won't change that. What would help is some honest (and intelligent) reporting by the Irving press.

Alec Bruce has a thoughful column. It doesn't yet see the bright, new future. But he does see the present very clearly indeed -the real present - and that's where we have to start from.

Alan Cochrane has a column demoted to Andy MacDonald who died recently at 96. If you knew Andy and his dummy farm and his stories, you'll love this column. If you didn't know him, you're the big loser. It must be over forty years ago that I first turned into his farm; and we talked for hours.

Well, Andy talked. I listened. And I loved it. I still remember that day well, though it was so many years ago. And I still feel honoured to  have met him.

The library must have his books. They're second-best to Andy. And that's good company to be second-best in.

He was one of a kind.

Louise Gilbert has kind words and useful insights into a mock city council meeting that was held on a recent evening. I think every word she says about the benefit of the affair and the invitations extended to students is dead on as is her insight into how youth and age can work together, both part of the same community.

And this isn't just my opinion. My teen-age sons were there, and they loved it.

Was there anything newsworthy that was not in the paper.?

Well, beginning soon, all cars made in the European Union will be required to be equipped with little black boxes which will emit messages telling where the car is at all times. The reason given is that this will make it easy to get rescue vehicles to the scene quickly in case of an accident.

Yes -

And I'm sure nobody was even thinking of how easy it will make it for domestic spies to have a complete record of where every car owner has gone. Of course, no domestic spy agency would dream of such an invasion of privacy.  Except..........

The US already does it, though awkwardly through licence plate photos.

Watch for a little  black box on your next, new car.

I was not surprised that the whole blame for the Lac Megantic disaster has been dumped on three, relatively minor figures. But it does seem odd.

Surely, Irving had some responsibility to ensure that its oil was being moved as safely as possible. And Irving certainly has people who know something about railways. So why did they choose a railways with a terrible reputation for safety? Why did they accept the use of a train with only one crewman? Why did they accept antiquated and dangerous tanker cars? What did they pay for moving that oil? What would the price have been for a railway with a better reputation?

Is it possible that a company would deliberately make such a risky deal to save a bit of money? Doesn't a shipper have any responsibility for the safety of his shipment?

Forty-seven people were killed. Hey! let's get that engineer who was assigned to drive a train alone over half a continent. Yeah! It's all his fault.
Tomorrow will be a crowded day. So I may be late in getting a column done.

1 comment:

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