Friday, July 11, 2014

July 11: just annoyed. that's all..

It's late Friday night. I should be in bed doing crossword puzzles. But It's been a bloody annoying day -  starting with a CTV "news" report on Palestine. And once annoyance after another came to me mind that I must write about some day. Not tonight. Tonight is just about things I should write about - and I thought maybe it might get you thinking, and sending in things that have always bugged you.

1. The CTV news on Palestine was so biased and ignorant it was painful to watch. These TV news bits with there exquisitely coiffed women news readers, and the men, usually men, who claim to offer analysis and insight. (I guess the thinking is that women aren't smart enough to do that.)

The news they spread is not only horribly slanted, and designed to create even more hatred and killing, but it's stunningly ignorant of the background of the events and the causes. In the newscast I saw, Israel was completely in the right, had no choice and the Palestinians - well, they're just evil. That's what they are. It's the classic good guys against bad guys.

The trouble is this has nothing to do with good guys or bad guys on either side. Jews and Arabs lived together in that area in peace for centuries. The trouble with those reporters and analysts is that their
 knowledge of history goes back only to last week.

Neither Israelis nor Palestinians caused the hatred and suffering and killing. The cause was - us --notably Britain, the U.S. and Canada. And, in fact, Europe in general. We are the causes of all the hatred and killing in that region.

2. Then there are the provincial and federal elections coming up. For all you Norbert's out there, you should understand that running a government is not the same as running a business. A business exists to make money. Nothing else. A government exists to serve the needs of the people who elected it. Yes, it needs money to do that - but it's the service that the money is for.

Business looks at poverty and sees cheap labour. Government looks at poverty and sees a responsibility to alleviate it. Business looks at education and sees something it can make money out of. Government looks at education and sees profits out of getting control of it. That's why education is being privatized all over the US and Britain with disastrous results. The same things is true of health services.

Harper and the big business he serves are looking at designing a society that will serve to make the rich richer. Government is looking, or should be looking, at designing a society in which human needs are met.

In fact, though, if you read any news about government or business in the Irvng press - and most other papers -  it's almost exclusively about making money - events centres, cutting services, lowering taxes for the rich. yes, of course we need money to provide services. But the starting point is to know what kind of society we want, what services we fell are needed - the starting point is people. Then you plan the money.

We live in a society that thinks only of the money with no sense whatever of what kind of a society we want.

There is almost no sign in the province of planning for people. It's as though people are in the way, and the only important thing is making money  - which most people will never see.

3. The political parties are just as bad. I have no idea of what general principles any of the parties, federal or provincial, stand for. They have 'neat' ideas; they call each other names; But what kind of society any of them is working toward is a mystery -  as much to them, I suspect, as to me.

Yes, the Greens have some focus on human needs. But it's narrowly on the condition of the environment. it's important. But you can't plan for a whole society just on that, not any more than you can plan for a whole society by building a hockey rink at public expense for billionaires.

Do any of the parties believe in equal opportunity? If so, exactly what does it mean to them? What does it call for? Does anybody out there seriously believe we have equality of opportunity now?

Does any party believe we need to, at least somewhat, close the gap between rich and poor? What's happening now is that it's widening out  of control. And when that happens, the poor get poorer and the Norberts of this world write articles about how it's all the fault of the poor so they now have to lose services and get even poorer.

And it's going to get much, much worse. The only institution we have to take us to the society we want and need is government. Business doesn't give a damn for us any more than it does for the millions it has pauperized and even murdered all over Latin America and Africa. And I suspect (I know) we are really going to get our noses rubbed in it when we see the details of the trade deals Harper is working out with the Pacific region.

Political parties should be about principles. I  have seen no serious attempt by any party - except, to a degree - the Greens - to offer any clear principles at all.

4. On quite another note, I've received several posts complaining about the quality of the CBC. Here's what has happened. Harper has put the CBC on a slow starvation budget from the start.. To simply destroy it would cost him votes. So he makes it ineffectual to turn listeners and viewers away from. Once he gets enough people blaming the CBC for all that, he'll privatize it.

If he wins another election, you can count on him doing the same thing to health care.

The society we are building is one of opportunity, health care, education, decent living standards only for the rich and their flunkies. In the process we have thrown away democracy, and let the agenda be set by a biased, lying and ignorant news media.

Meanwhile, I see no sense in the fields of politics and media that our futures are being thought of at all. Like big business, we all live only for the financial profit of the moment with no thought of the future.

Now, I'll do a crossword.


  1. While funding for the CBC has certainly been cut, that doesn't reflect anything on HOW it spends the money it does. It pays certain hosts exhorbitantly, and puts money into silly things, while ignoring pressing concerns. In New Brunswick its particularly bad. I'm quite sure that I could handle the functioning and reporting on their New Brunswick website quite easily. There is virtually NEVER any investigative reporting. For some bizarre reason they champion the idea of a 'gas guru', a guy who simply picks what he thinks gas prices will do that week. And now they have a 'twitter feed' that takes up space to tell people absolutely nothing (like you need up to the minute twitter coverage of ANYTHING in the province).

    I listened to their podcasts and they are usually painful to listen to. Meanwhile, the 30 year 'fisheries report' out of Newfoundland shows just how good a show on a single issue can be. There are NO shows out of new brunswick focused on resources, even though the province is as dependant on them as Newfoundland.

    They are heavily involved in the St. Thomas journalism school, and you would think that would be a prime opportunity, but they don't even do a podcast or journalism show for the entire school. For a journalism school that is simply appalling, there are GRADE SCHOOLS in the US which produce their own news programs, yet even with a dozen or more future journalists, they can't even seem to utilize them. Legislature reporting is practically nil, and even the biggest human rights stories are ignored.

    When I was involved in the push to get roomers and boarders into the Residential Tenants Act, I made several appearances on radio-NONE was on the CBC, who didn't even cover the issue. I started a program in Fredericton a decade ago to produce CD's with royalty free music from NB artists to raise money for the homeless and while the CBC wouldn't even TALK to me, the Daily Gleaner gave me a photo opportunity and had a front page article even though the program hadn't even started (and sadly, ultimately didn't).

    So my complaints about the CBC FAR predate the Harper cuts and can't be laid on that doorstep. With today's citizens journalists and free access to facebook and youtube, the CBC could be producing far better quality stuff for a FRACTION of what they now spend. How they choose their priorities and make their decisions have long been a point of contention. I remember when they cancelled Rita McNeil's show even though it was getting solid ratings, sometimes rumoured to have been because Toronto execs were embarassed at a down home country show being one of their bright lights (if not only-meanwhile crap like 'street legal' went on for years with dismal ratings).

  2. PS Nice use of the 'norberts'. We've got to post that at some national media comments sites and get it into national prominence:)