Saturday, February 14, 2015

Feb. 14: Iimpressive quotations to suck us in.

The TandT edition of Friday, Feb. 13, has a big story about the ranking of New Brunswick's health care system. Front page stuff. And it comes straight from the expensive offices of The Conference Board of Canada in Ottawa. So we have to take this seriously. Funny thing, though.

The story never tells us what and who The Conference Board of Canada is. It certainly sounds very official, possibly even government, and very authoritative - just as a fish might think a worm on a hook looks like gourmet food.

In fact, the Board is a private, not-for-profit organization. (Which really means it doesn't pay taxes.) It has a large staff, a CEO, and very, very expensive-looking offices in Ottawa. Gee. I wonder who pays for all that.
Their site doesn't tell us who pays the bills, and neither does the TandT reporter.

What it is, of course, is one of the many propaganda outfits financed by the very, very rich to spread propaganda that will make the very, very rich even richer - and us poorer. It's one more of those outfits that likes to call itself a 'think tank', just as though it actually does thinking. But that's a secret. And they can trust news media like the irving press never to tell their secret.

There's another such report, this time on the back page. This one is from Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. It's all about how PEI should privatize all of its golf courses because privatization is - you know - a good thing. A New Brunswick family has been prominent in supporting AIMS. Ever hear of the Irvings?

A good newspaper would tell us what these mercenary outfits really are.
And so the beat goes on with an editorial on how we should privatize beaches and parks. Then they could really be economically developed for "total" summer fun, and without harming the environment. Oh, for sure. you can do anything to beaches without harming the environment. And the private sector has led the way in protecting the environment.

Oh, and it will balance the provincial budget when the government sells our parks and beaches to the private sector.. Why, it'll be just like the events centre.

Actually, I have been flattering the editorial. It is neither as consistent nor as intelligent as the sentences above might suggest. And, like most editorials in the paper, it shows no interest in human needs at all. The only things that count are balancing the budget and making money.

Reading this stuff is much like having a conversation with a drunk in a bar.

Norbert, in contrast, does a good job on doctor-assisted suicide. I don't say that because I agree with him (though I do agree), but because he does it with clarity and logic - and with none of the ranting he can be prone to.

Cole Hobson does a column on a Moncton Company called Apex Industries. I have no idea why. It got a grant of our tax money from Ottawa. Hip, hip, hurray. But the column is just gush.

B section, now grandly called Canada and the world, opens as A 1 did, with a report on education from a think tank financed by the  very, very rich. It says we're spending too much on it. Costs are going up on it - and that's bad. Typically, this conclusion is based on statistics of education spending - and nothing else. There are no people in this, just numbers.

How does it compare in spending with countries that are top-rated in education? How does it compare with countries that offer broader opportunities - like those that make university free so that all can have equal opportunity? What changes have happened in our schools that require more spending? You won't learn any of that in this story.

This isn't research of any sort. It's just shallow and cynical propaganda to benefit the very rich. And that makes it an important story in the Irving press.

World news amounts to one story about Ukraine that tells us nothing.  However, it's followed by a whole page of photos of people holdinig up giant cheques.
Section A for Feb. 14 is pretty dozy stuff., The news pages have nothing. The editorial shows, once again, he's incapable of writing about any  topic of substance.

Norbert left me with mixed feelings. He says that people who have to wait to long for health care should have the right to go to a private practice. Well, it's not as simple as it seems. Most people, by far, can't have that choice because they can't possibly afford it. So Norbert is arguing for a "democratic right" which is, in fact, a privilege for the very few.

Norbert quotes the Canadian Constitution Foundation which says that all Canadians have the right to be treated equally by governments. Well, if you give a right to the very rich which the rest of us can't possibly afford, then we're not being treated equally.

The editorial cartoon shows Russian tanks going through Ukraine while a tied-up dog called "the west" barks at it. Well, that certainly follows the official line in our news media. But I have seen no evidence, anywhere, of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

And there is not such thing as "the west" in this issue. The US has been pushing hard for a war. But most of Europe is opposed to one. That's why we're having peace talks. Merckel and Hollande forced Obama to hold them.

I don't think they'll work. I think Obama wants war. His handling of this has been confrontational and accusing since day one. That's not a very good way to avoid a war. Obama (meaning his financial, corporation backers) wants a war.

Good column by Brent Mazerolle. Mostly a good one by Belliveau on Harper, how he rules by stirring fear and hatred... That's certainly true. But Belliveau has high hopes for Trudeau. I certainly hope that Harper loses because if he doesn't, it's game over for Canada as a democracy of any sort.  But I have seen nothing to suggest any talent in Trudeau or any other Liberal.
There's nothing of substance in Canada and World News.  But B4 has a gem of biased and lying reporting from The Associated Press. It may look harmless at first, but...

"Russian backed separatists mounted a vicious assault Friday...." Looks, harmless, I know.  But why does it say the separatists are Russian-backed? Check the whole story. It never says the west Ukraine army is NATO backed. Why not? Because the real message the reporter wants to get out is that Russians are evil, and are the ones who set up this war.

Actually, the war started with the overthrow of a Ukrainian government favorable to Russia. There was no possible reason for Russia to overthrow it - and no-one has even suggested Russia did it. In fact, all the evidence points to a coup staged by the U.S.

And why call the east Ukrainians separatists? Why not rebels? That's what the news agencies call the hired mercenaries financed by the US and Saudi Arabia and a few others in Syria? Indeed, rebels is closer to what the Russo-Ukrainians are. There was no separatist movement before the US staged its coup in Kyiv. So why call them separatists instead of rebels?

Because "rebels" would sound nicer. After all, the fathers of the US were rebels. "rebels" has connotations of courage and goodness. And that wouldn't do. That's why Syrians fighting again the Syrian government are rebels. But the ones fighting against the Ukraine government are separatists. It has uglier connotations.

And, the "separatists" mounted a vicious assault. Gee. Have you ever heard of a nice assualt, or a polite assault? So why do we need the word 'vicious'?

Have you seen an announcement of a vicious assault by the Ukrainian government?  No. Our side is never vicious. Perhaps the most vicious wars of the half century have been the US wars that killed millions in Vietnam and Iraq. But I've never seen a news report that called them vicious.

At about the half way point, the reporter writes that the Russians, though they deny it, are supplying the rebels with heavy weapons. How does he know? " the sheer quantity of such weapons in the hands of the separatists..."

That's his evidence? Hey. there are airplanes over Ukraine. They have cameras. How come they aren't taking pictures of all those Russian tanks? I've heard of only one, such photo - and it turned out to be a fake.
Anyway, I can easily think of another reason the rebels have heavy weapons.

The Ukraine army has done badly in the war. Many Ukrainians are refusing to enlist to to respond to the draft. There is also lots of evidence of frantic retreats. And when you frantically retreat, what do you leave behind? Heavy weapons and their ammunition. That could well explain how the Russo-Ukrainians come to have heavy weapons - and it makes a lot more sense than this reporter does.

In any case, the reporter has written something as news when he has no evidence for it. That's a no-no. And much of the story is like that.

And that, I'm afraid, is a sample of virtually all foreign news we get in North America. It's designed to point to point to our side as good and the other side as evil. It's designed to make us hate and fear and kill -and maybe even to provoke a nuclear war.
The student column page seems to have been reduced to three students. The three are good. But this is a paper of such trash and trivia that it really cannot afford to cut down on one of its few, good features.

On the Faith Page, the sermonette is, as usual, intensely personal. That makes it easier for the pastor and any followers to avoid any discussion of the real life issues that Jesus talked about._It also reassures their congregants that they'll never have to think - just clap hands for Jesus. On the good side, the choice of pancake suppers is the widest ever.
Sorry to have so little to say. It's hard to say much about a  newspaper that doesn't have any news - and in which the little they do have is commonly propaganda and even outright lying.

I think tomorrow I'll write about things that didn't make the news, and about why the very, very rich and powerful develop their own kind of racism.
Oh - I forgot. There's a story running wild in the web about how Netanyahu is so insane_that he drove his own psychiatrist to commit suicide._ It's true that Netanyahu had a psychiatrist (though I have no idea why).  It's also true that the psychiatrist shot himself. That's really all that's known.
The problem is a note that the psychiatrist supposedly wrote saying that Netanyahu was so insane that the psychiatrist lost his mind in dealing with him.

I have read what purports to be that note. And it is simply not believable. It's either a joke or a hoax of some sort.

If you really care, googling Netanyahu, pyschiatrist, note should do it.________


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