Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21: lean pickings

(Sorry to be late with this one. My daughter,  her husband and my granddaughter were at the shore - and today was my last chance to see them. I'll do a blog on the July 22 paper, and generally figure out a way to catch up while I also get a tooth pulled this week. Oh, joy.)

The biggest story (perhaps the only story) in section A is that a new shoe store is coming to Moncton.

We're on the edge of the greatest crisis in history. Newstoday has three stories on it - and altogether they take up less space than the obituaries. All three stories are heavily biased - a bias which is to be found in virtually all North American news media. Russia, it seems, fired the rocket in Ukraine that brought down an airline. That's what Obama says; and it's the big in news today. And Obama is lying - but I have not seen a single news story that says so.

It is not possible for him to know who fired that rocket. In the first place, it takes experts a very long time even to be sure about the cause of a crash. And they haven't even started to look at it. Secondly, to show that it was a Russian rocket means nothing. All sides have access to Russian rockets. Thirdly, not even experts will be able to determine who fired that rocket. There is no possible way for them to learn that. Fourthly, The only country that loses by this act is Russia. It would have nothing to gain by it; and it is in deep, diplomatic trouble because of it. Putin has no shortage of faults; but he's not so stupid as to shoot himself in the foot.

Who gains from it?

The Ukraine government gains. Diplomatically, this puts Russia on the ropes. Obama gains because it gives him the excuse to go to war with Russia - and I have suspected that was his game from the start.

Oh, yeah. Secretary of State John Kerry accuses Russia of helping the Ukrainian separatists. This comes from the man whose government hires, arms and equips al Quaeda terrorists to  murder tens of thousands of Syrians.

As for Israel and Hamas, the big story is that the US is trying to broker a peace deal. Yeah. Sure. The deal was actually written by Tony Blair who is a highly paid advisor to Israel). They don't bother to explain what the deal is. But I found it in  British papers. Palestine would be governed jointly by the Palestinian Authority with US participation in the government.  Sounds good?

Well, the Authority is a very obedient "authority" - obedient to the US. And the US, Israel's closest ally, would also be there.  In other words, after over sixty years Palestine will still be denied democracy, and denied the right to govern itself. Wow! What a great deal!

As usual, the editorial has nothing to say about these stunningly dangerous events. It never does. How could it? Obviously, there is nobody on that editorial board who has enough brains to write about anything except making the poor suffer for causing the recession.

Here's a hint to Brethour and Hogan and  the other kiddies. For years, the oil industry, notably the Koch brothers who are big in the oil sands - and everywhere else) spent billions to tell us all that climate change was not happening, a line faithfully supported by the Irving press. Well, now we know it is happening. Just about every authority in the world recognizes it. Obama recognizes it. Even Harper has publicly recognized it. So what is the huge project they're pushing now? Building pipelines to carry the world's dirtiest oil to foreign countries. And the New Brunswick government is leading the charge. duh, we'll create jobs.

Hint, guys, whether the oil is burned here or in China, it goes up into the sky and affects all of us. We may already be at the point of no return. Do you think you could stop kissing the asses of oil billionaires long enough to tell us about what that means for our futures? Greed makes even billionaires (especially billionaires) stupid.

Oh, great story on the business page. Prosperity is coming back. We know that because the sales of corporate jets are going up. duh- brilliant insight. Of course, you and I will not be taking test drives. Prosperity is on the rise for that tiny handful of people who pay little taxes and get government handouts. But their prosperity is built on our growing poverty - you know, all those poor people the editors have so much contempt for.

Worst of all, the Irvinig paper and almost all other news media I've seen treat the shooting down of the airliner and the rocket fire by Hamas as though these were what started the crises. That's useful if you're writing propaganda. But if you want to tell the truth, you have to start from the beginning.

The beginning of the Ukraine crisis was the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine. And that was almost certain set up by the US. The beginning of the Israel/Palestine crisis goes back to 1948 and, perhaps, even further. And the blame for it lies heavily on the shoulders of Britain and the US. who have tried to use both countries to establish their own dominance in the region. But, when you're writing propaganda, it always easier to start   with the most recent incident as though that's the cause of everything.

The fighting in Palestine is obviously a horror for the Palestinians. But that whole region is so unstable, it could well turn into a disaster for Israel. - and for all of us. As for Ukraine, it is very likely (certain) that their are influential people in the US who want a war with Russia.

And we are involved. Remember how Harper promised unconditional support for Israel? Remember his big talk on Ukraine, and his sending of Canadian troops and aircraft for possible service there? I know he said those things only to win the next election. But many young Canadians may pay the price for his political ambitions.


  1. Prosperity is coming? Who knew?

  2. You should maybe check out the CBC for more local stories as well. Like today on CBC (I found it today, its not 'new' today) there is an interview with Jacques Poitras about the finally released contract between the city of Moncton and the Irving Wildcats.

    Just for some context, and for those who don't bother listening to it (you really should, its one of the few times I've actually seen any 'work' on stories from CBC), the story goes that the CBC wanted to compare the contracts between Saint John, Bathurst, and Moncton on their hockey teams and municipal stadiums (one could well ask if its a 'private' hockey team, why don't they build their own arena?).

    Anyway, it took an access to information request to get the story from Moncton, and even that was a heavily redacted version, while Bathurst and Saint John produced theirs quite quickly.

    The story, it turns out, is that in Saint John the city makes money off their hockey deal, whereas in Moncton the city is essentially subsidizing the Irving hockey team. If people have forgotten, there was the story last fall about municipal money 'for corporate boxes' actually going to Irvings diaper plant.

    So this is as crooked as it gets, not only do you have a billionaire hockey team owner, but they have a deal for a city to subsidize their hockey team, and maybe even give money to another of their companies. Part of the deal was apparantly that the city would pay the team owners IF there were no corporate boxes at the arena. A strange caveat, sort of like me setting up a booth at the farmers market and them paying me if they don't provide me with a roof.

    The other angle of the story which interests me was the mention that municipalities have apparantly included clauses in private contracts because these 'may' be available under access to information legislation. I wonder if that includes the infamous privatized water deal, and I wonder if similar legislation exists at the provincial level, it certainly doesn't seem to at crown corporations (which may explain the governments new fondness for 'arms length' organizations).

    On the Ukraine stuff, I sort of agree but wouldn't go that far as to say it takes 'months'. There are LOTS of ways that evidence can be gained nowadays, this isn't the case of a black box investigation.

    What I find more interesting is what we DO know. I wouldn't be surprised if the russians did do this, or the rebels, or even Ukraine, as I suspect it was an accident, but don't know. I'm not quite as convinced as you of this war mongering effort, Obama won't even move ground troops into Iraq, something virtually ALL his critics want him to do.

    In any case, what I find interesting is just how much the US 'seems' to know based on information they won't provide to anybody else-or else that they are just making up.

    John Kerry says that 'it looks like it was taken down by an SA-11 missile'. Now, how would a secretary of state who wasn't there know that...or even THINK that? They say 'there is evidence that the russians then began moving heavy equipment away from the border'.

    Interesting, now, how would you know that? Putin has said that 'coincidentally' US satellites were watching the area, so where is the video and photographs with all this evidence leading to make all these conclusions? And if you have satellites, then what about images actually showing where the rocket was fired from? While that is interesting, I don't like to draw conclusions based on things we DON"T know, but at this point it certainly is something to keep in mind.

    1. An interesting thing about our payments to subsidize the Wildcats is it reveals that even a person so wealthy he could support the team with his loose change will still squeeze the last penny out of the public.

      This is obviously not an owner who ever says "keep the change".

  3. In other news, its worth pointing out the 'hot new story' at the CBC, which was that Elizabeth May said that the three 'sort of' left party should organize and unite their efforts to defeat Harper by not running candidates in certain ridings.

    What I found most interesting about this is that I remember years ago when there was a story about Harper and the conservative party hiring people to essentially troll websites-I call it trolling because of the being paid aspect.

    I was remembering that as I saw that almost 500 people had responded to this story in the space of about six hours,and I checked, and it wasn't even featured on the national website. Thats a LOT of interest for a local story. There were a fair number who supported the idea, but a pretty substancial number who were 'appalled' and 'disgusted' at this 'manipulation of democracy'.

    Apparantly using legal tactics to gain votes is 'appalling for democracy', while the actual fact that a party with less than 40% voting support of barely half of canadians has 100% of the power, isn't bothersome AT ALL. Thats a pretty unique notion of 'democracy'.

    I know I'm treading on conspiracy theory here, its true that the 'blue bloggers' at least used to be quite organized and as single minded as tea partiers in the south, although I had noticed they weren't quite as organized once Harper had a majority government. Hmmmm, as well. But its true, thats just conspiracy stuff.

    More interesting will be the response by the NDP and liberals to May's proposal. The NDP has been losing ground, but the greens are pretty insignificant in Quebec, which is where the NDP seats are anyway. And its doubtful the liberals have anything to gain.

    However, its quite likely that an organization or two could spring up to maybe list all the ridings and the votes from last election and perhaps try to either talk nominees out of running, or at the very least try to appeal to voters to appeal to a single candidate in each respective riding. Thats been tried before with limited success, but with some organization and social media, it may be more successful. In my riding I have NO idea who to vote for as the support for the opposing party seems to go back and forth each election, so its literally a crapshoot for voters who want to defeat the tory incumbent.

  4. I don't know what to say about May's proposal. I don't see it as being anywhere close to the problems we face either provincially or federally. We have fundamental rebuilding to do. Democracy is dead in the water. Corporate power is spreading over the whole globe - and it's a power that's both incompetent and destructive. Not only do we have to reject that power; we have to educate a public to think about what the hell it's doing, and clean up thoroughly corrupt news media. And we don't have much time to do it.

    What May proposes would be essentially a vaguely left-wing Liberal party Well, that's what Trudeau will offer to us. And that's also pretty close to what the NDP has become.

    We have one hell of a job in taking back our own country before we can accomplish anything else. And I can't see May's proposal as being up to the job.

  5. I agree.

    Any talk about following politics, or elections at this late stage, and thinking it's going to make any difference, is simply wasting their effort.

    Beside democracy being dead as already mentioned, the bigger picture includes the following:

    The world's financial wizards and spokespeople are crazy; like Christine LaGarde:

    Also, someone else has a lot of time on their hands.

    They have resources, they have artistic abilities, and are very knowledgeable about scripture, including darker matters.

    If it's someone's idea of a joke, it's quite an involved prank.

    And, can someone debunk this?

  6. I 'sort of' agree again, however, it does a couple of things. First of all, just TALKING about 'uniting' is a political process, which tends to get people's interest. People have almost zero interest in politics right now. I'm not going to rehash the 'taking back democracy', because I don't think we ever had it, but either way, we agree on the fundamentals, and anything that may get people remotely politically active is a good first step. It doesn't do much good to state 'its too late', that seems kind of defeatist even if it were true, and I'm not convinced of that.

    Since the liberals are the most likely contenders, it would mean the Greens making some sacrifices, so it will be interesting to hear Green's remarks in the future-for example, she HAS a seat, so it will be quite interesting to hear her tell candidate x in riding x "hey, don't run in your riding, we want the liberals or the ndp to win the seat". I can well imagine such a person saying, hey, why don't YOU not run.

    To John, as always entertaining, but that first link is hardly crazy, its the kind of press conference that says absolutely nothing and isn't even worth paying attention to.

    Speaking of 'having too much time on their hands', the third link is just funny, as Disney's 'wickedness' was old news back when it was discussed in university classes all over the world twenty years ago. There are probably about a hundred books on why disney produces the worst thing you should show a child.

    I got a kick out of the 'subliminal messages' stuff, because thats pretty funny, since the idea that people are affected by subliminal messages was debunked ages ago. IF that were remotely true, given the fact that virtually every kid in america is brought up on disney movies, wouldn't that mean there would be an AWFUL lot more satanists in the US, or worldwide?

  7. You may also want to go to TVO's 'big ideas' and listen to a very excellent talk given by Michael Shermer on probability. For example, I laughed hysterically at the stupidity of this guy talking about subliminal messages while showing random movie stills showing disney characters giving the 'devil sign' with their fingers.

    First of all, you should know that in movie animation, you are talking about 24-33 cells PER SECOND. In every second of cartoon watching, there are between 24 and 31 'pictures' being drawn. Thats almost 200,000 for a 90 minute movie. So I could go through every disney movie and also probably find about as many examples of characters flipping the bird, giving the thumbs up sign, or the thumbs down.

    Its also useful to know a little about animation. Particularly in animating fingers. Namely, if you draw all the fingers 'flat handed' then they don't look interesting. Go watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and you will see the exact same thing. Animation and drawing works by juxtaposing images, not by making them similar. Its only really dirt cheap animation like the Simpsons that doesn't bother with fingers because they are too technical (meaning time consuming and expensive) to animate.

    But this has been a running joke in animation circles for decades. Bored cartoonists have been putting dirty drawing in cartoons since, well, since animation began. You think its NOT the overt sexual ads which are ALL OVER THE PLACE that affect children but the subliminal ones??

    At least at universities there are womens groups who have been arguing and protesting about Disney's movies being OVERTLY patriarchal and demeaning to women. This guy who made this silliness is more worried because on a cover of a movie there is a drawing that if you look really close sort of looks like a penis?! Wow, stop the presses! At least he's right about one thing, "if you didn't know to look then you wouldn't notice it". True, so maybe this guy ought to stop seeing filthy images everywhere. Heck, TREES look phallic shaped if you look at them. Hey, those mountains on 'deputy dawg' look rounded at the top just like breasts!

    Dude, seriously, this is important to you why? Instead of that garbage, you can go to MIT's open courseware, that means its free, and you can sign up for a course in womens and gender studies and even focus on disney-there is LOTS out there.

    Sadly, I listened to way too much of it and in part he's just nuts, but the societal angle is something that serious academics have looked at for ages. Meaning, the sexualized images aimed at children have forever been fought by feminists, the same as Barbie, the same as Archie Comics, super heroes, and newspaper comics.

    PS: Jesus Christ hung out with HOOKERS. Do you really think he gives a *&^% whether your kid wears a bikini top or not? Its interesting that a guy like this talks about girls in bikini tops, because to a little girl that means nothing, to most of the world that means nothing. All this guy's ranting about it does is make him look like a freaking pedophile!

    But thanks for the entertainment!

  8. And PS, I don't think there is hardly ANYBODY out there that isn't aware of what (some) corporate power is doing and that it is a main problem. I even saw a lot of comments along your line at the Toronto SUN, and that paper is basically the loony right racist brigade.

    The problem is, ask a person on the street what the main problems in the world today are, and the obvious second question is "what do YOU do about it?" I haven't even seen an answer to that here. People can't even stop LOCAL developments, let alone national and international ones. When you have an electoral system which you can do nothing about which essentially shuts out 60% of those who still bother to vote, (and, by the way, ALWAYS has done that), then the problem is MUCH deeper than even you state. No fair electoral system, no democracy (ok, I guess I am going to argue a bit about whether we've ever had democracy).

    So EVERYBODY knows this stuff, there is a bit of a disconnect because there is the appearance that there is more a 'right left' kind of struggle online but thats mostly because its almost exclusively middle aged white guys who bother with this stuff.

    So yeah, its fine to point out all the problems, but when there is nothing that you can DO about it, then you really have to ask whether all the stress is worth it.