Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sept. 8: anything happening in Scotland? Nae

The Scottish vote on separation from Britain is nearing. And polls are showing the separatists in the lead. The effects on England, militarily, economically and diplomatically, will be serious. And so ends the Union Jack that hung in the front of my grade one class, the one for which we would stand every morning, and say, hands on hearts - "I pledge allegiance to this flag and to the Empire for which it stands."

So now, it seems possible the cross of St.Andrew will be ripped out of the flag, a symbol of the last shred of   empire.

Separation wouldn't really be a turning point. Britain's power has been in decline since World War One. But it is the signal of the end of "make her victorious, happy and glorious...." It's news. But the editors at the TandT haven't noticed it. Or they're keeping it their own, little secret. Imagine that. We could be watching the final, complete ending to the greatest empire in history, the ones we were a part of, and for which over a hundred thousand Canadians died. And the only British news for September 9 is in NewsToday. "  Royal Couple William and Kate expecting second child."

Hell, I knew that a long time ago from the scandal mags at the supermarket checkout.

Then there's an even bigger story on, also on September  9. but also not big enough to make the main story for the day - the dismantling of a covered bridge in New Brunswick.

The really big story is in NewsToday, page 1. "Obama weary of weight of the world". Yes,  here the US is fighting war after war, all for us and truth and democracy, and the rest of us aren't helping it nearly enough. And now the US is hugely in debt, with terrible unemployment and poverty, ....and don't you feel terrible about it?

The story is from The Canadian Press. And, like almost all of those major news companies, it tells only a little bit of the story. Nobody asked the US to invade Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya, or to get all hostile with Russia. Nobody asked it to torture thousands in secret prisons. Nobody asked it to build almost a thousand military bases all over the world. Nor did the American people show any enthusiasm for these ventures. These were imperial wars fought for the benefit of American big business.

And American big business is very happy as a result. While everybody else is going into debt, big business, especially the super-corrupt military-industrial complex, is making great profits. It makes the weapons that are being used by both sides in Iraq. It will supply some, probably most, of the soldiers who will fight against IS. It will also supply even more weapons, operate food services, operate military administrative offices, provide drones, etc. The "defence" industry no longer just supplies weapons. It is actually the controller and renter of most of the fighting forces. A reader sent me an interesting not on this...

These wars have all been fought to give big business huge profits at the cost of forcing millions of Americans into poverty.  (millions? estimates - none of them reliable - hover up  to 50%. US census figures are lower; they're also largely fictional, as are unemployment estimates.)

The US empire is following exactly the same course as the British one. The British began asking us to share the cost of its wars in the Boer War. Then it pursued the US as a buddy for almost a century.

But, like Britain, the US is not policing the world. It is trying to bully it into submission. And it wants us all to help its rich get richer. The reporter could have asked a few questions that would have shown that, or it could have interviewed some experts to get a fuller picture. But it didn't because, like most reporters, he or she is really in the propaganda business.

The news editors at the TandT are either ignorant or sloppy. After all,, there are news services that are more honest that Canadian Press, American Press, and Associated Press. But the TandT editors seem to have  no sense of what the big stories are, and no sense of what is news reporting and what it just propaganda.
But let's concentrate on the real stinker, the September 8 edition. Front page - Balloons float over Sussex. And there's picture of a balloon floating over Sussex. Don't worry if you miss it. There are two more pages of balloon photos in the NewsToday section.  And for those who find pictures of balloons intellectually demanding, there is a relaxing, full page of photos of old cars and motorcycles.

And the front page has other big news. Somebody retired at 77. Big story. A lawyer retires. Big story.

On p.2, there's a picture of a man in what appear to be pyjama pants throwing a bucket of war on a small fire. Apparently, it's in Ukraine. Why is the picture there in a section usually devoted to local news? In fact, what is the point of having the picture at all? Well, they had an empty space. So they grabbed the nearest picture and slapped it in. It's what's called a filler, something that just fills space. And it's a sign of pretty sloppy editing.

On p. 3, there's a quarter page telling us that nobody in St. John has Ebola. A paragraph would have been plenty. It also has two, pointless pictures, one of an ambulance taking away a woman who does not have Ebola, and one of a doctor and a fire chief talking into a microphone, presumably to tell the press there is no Ebola.

Then there's the editorial page which doesn't have Alec Bruce, but in his place has a "Senior Fellow with the Fraser Institute." Tanslation - he works for a propaganda agency for big business that gives its propagandists fancy titles - like Senior Fellow. And it starts with a headline that's a lie. "Nova Scotia chooses high taxes over fracking".  They chose have a clean environment rather than having unknown chemical poison pumped into their soil.

It is also a plea that Nova Scotia overtaxes big business. Sure. That's why big business is making its biggest profits in history

As to the safety of fracking, he ignores the recent reports that the carbon dioxide in the skies above us increased in 2013 at the fastest rate in history. Yeah, fracking will make big, big money. But, like most resource extraction, it won't be big money for you, baby. It'll mean big money for "Senior Fellows" who write propaganda and for their bosses. And the editors of the TandT dropped their regular columnist (who is honest) to slip in this lying crap.

Gee. I wonder who told them to do that.

The editorial, as usual, is about ways to make money. The only editorials I have ever seen in this paper in  favour of government spending money is when its spent to build multimillion dollar hockey rinks for team owners who prefer not to risk their own money.

In this one, they get onto the subject of improving the sort of weak tourist season we just had. They think we need better marketing. But just a line above that, they give the real reason. There isn't a whole lot of money running around in the US. It's in a recession. Many millions can't possibly afford to go anywhere. You can play at marketing all you like, it won't change that.

The reality is that most of the money in the US, as in Canada, is going into the pockets of the very rich. And much of it is getting there because of vast corruption - as in the US military-industrial complex and, in Canada as in the US, of low taxes for the rich, and the freedom to destroy jobs here and set up shop under quasi-dictatorships that let them get away with no taxes, no environment controls  and scandalously cheap labour.

That is not going to change. Indeed, it is almost certain to get worse. Get used to it.

The last page was needed for another balloon picture and ads; so letters to the editor found a place by kicking out one of the op ed writers. The only op ed left was Craig Babstock. On balance, I would have preferred to see another picture of a balloon. He's all in a fuss because some shale gas opponents made threats to reporters - and he wants them to get really harsh sentences. After all, he says, the press is what gives the information that a free society must have.

It should, Craig. But your  paper is propagandist and lying. And it's destructive to a free society.

September 8 has less than one page of foreign news. No man is an island. Certainly, New Brunswick is not an island. What happens in all of Canada affects us. We can, for example, plan our economy until our teeth fall out. But how our economy develops depends heavily on how Canada's develops. In the same way things that happen in the most remote parts of the world affect us.

For example, no paper I have seen says so openly, but Obama has so far lost his challenge to Putin. The Kiev army was defeated - and not by the Russian army. Even if the numbers we have seen (and which I doubt) for Russian involvement were true, it would not be enough to defeat a professional and loyal army from Kiev. The reality is that that the Kiev government does not have national support. Ukraine was a bungled affair from the start.

We have a NATO strike force being formed, and we have air and sea patrols in the Ukraine region. But they aren't there because we intend to do anything. They're there to cover up the reality that we aren't going to do anything. Kiev knows that. That's why it agreed to peace talks.

The war could still happen by mistake. But there is no possible way such a war could be worth the risks it poses. However, we have aircraft there, and we have at least one warship. If a mistake happens, we're in a war. And living in New Brunswick is no insurance to help us through that.

The existence of IS is the result of another blunder. The US,   in destroying Iraq, killing so many, and starving so many to death (estimates for children in the war and after starving to death are at least 400,000), created the situation that gave rise to IS. The head of the Arab league, referring recently to IS, said it is "...an armed terrorist group that .....challenges the state authority (and)..its very existence."

Very true. But how is that different in any way from the American invasion of Iraq? This one could blow into a very long war - and Canada  will be caught in it because we have already committed troops in the form of advisors.

I don't blame Obama for being tired of it all. But we get no sense from the Irving press of what caused all this or even of what's happening now.

I also checked out the Sports section. It had four pages, which certainly beats foreign news, and even beats election coverage. But it's very weak on columnists - with only one, and he seems to cover just the Wildcats.

There's more to say, much more about these two issues of the TandT. But life is short.

What we have is a newspaper designed to keep people ignorant of what is happening. It's quite deliberate. In local affairs, it does it publishing trivia, most of it really not news of any sort. In national and federal affairs it relies on material from news services that are so  unquestioning and so biased that they just promote more ignorance. And to make it worse, the editors seem to make no attempt to assess which are the important stories of the day.

The editorial is almost always local - partly, I suspect, because the editorialists don't know any better. And they're almost always about money. There is no sense that New Brunswick is also about people.
And the columnists? Well, the big one for September 8 was a pure propagandist spreading the line that shale gas is absolutely harmless. The op ed columnist for that day was one who knows of nothing except the most local matters - and knows very little about them.

And that's the TandT formula. Keep it trivial. Spice it with propaganda. It's much the same as the commercial radio stations. And it is profoundly hurting New Brunswick.


  1. I noticed Malloy was bumped this week. I wonder if the Irving Overlords are starting to grow weary of his inability to fall into line. I can tell his writing is restrained, and am guessing his topics are heavily restricted. Every once in a while he throws big business or the government under the bus - and like clockwork, the next week he's reigned in.

    It's a shame, because he's one of the only competent freelancers on staff.

  2. Great blog dude:) There is another reason that Irving likes to 'keep it local', which is the same reason most media do it, which is so that you can't really put stories in context. So the fact that a government policy in another province has been tried and succeeded, or failed, will completely escape everybody.

    Even the CBC does that, the 'national' media is divided into regions so that people in one part of the country have no idea of what is going on in another.

    Irvings media has always been like that, it breeds an insular populace which has no idea about the outside world, which makes them more dependant on the media. Thankfully the internet came along and most people simply ignore them.