Saturday, March 28, 2015

March 28: What a boring paper!

It's not just that so much of it is either trivial or lying. It actually makes even highly emotional events cold and lifeless. The Irving press, for example, was able to capture the sense of trauma, of loss, of fear when Justin Bourque shot police officers. But that sense of reality seems to stop for events beyond, say, Sussex.

Montreal, for example, has seen demonstrations in recent days over an issue which is important to us as well - the rising cost of university education. This has every possibility of becoming very violent very soon. Yesterday, the Montreal riot squad got into a scuffle. (I've seen them in action a number of times. They love violence.) Yesterday, a riot squad officer, standing perhaps five feet from a young woman, deliberately shot her in the face with a tear gas grenade.

There is no possibility she was attacking him. Nor, in the press of the crowd, was it possible for her to back up. That's the sort of thing I've seen often enough to know it's routine.

Then the US is all excited over a case that the Irving press hasn't even bothered to report on. An American soldier who deserted in Afghanistan has been arrested. Lots of patriot anger and excitement surrounds this case. Unheard of...........well,

....in fact, desertion in war is very common in any army I  have ever heard of. There were many deserters in Afghanistan and Iraq.  In World War 1, they were executed in their thousands. Britain and France, especially France, just loved firing squads. Canadians were executed, too. But they never made the papers.

What the papers could have done, for example, is to report on why they deserted. It wasn't necessarily cowardice at all. It was the horror of living with the smell of rotting flesh, of seeing your best friend on the ground with his intestines spilling out. It was something like what we now call PTSD. And it wasn't and isn't cowardice. It was the natural reaction of an intelligent and moral person. Anybody can kill. Wild animals do it all the time. But some of us humans can't. I'm not sure that's a bad quality.

(In fact, most soldiers don't like to kill. A clean-up muskets that littered a US civil war battlefield showed that a very high proportion of the muskets were loaded. (Think about that, and what it means. Write in your answer.When I was working on a film, I had to visit most of the battlefields of the War of 1812, I was astonished at the close ranges at which the two sides stood firing at each other. They were so close that even muskets should have killed everybody on both sides. I couldn't understand, then, why casualties were so light. (Today, we make it easier by training soldiers to enjoy killing - seriously.)

Some terrible things about war do get printed. But only if they're done by the other side. We were told that in World War 2, Japanese troops often murdered prisoners. What we have never been told is that Americans, British and, yes, Canadians did it, too.

And that brings us to the horrors that we have inflicted and are still inflicting in the the middle east, all to make big time entrepreneurs richer.

Reporting on this is so cold and bland that that we  have no sense of what we have done and are doing to the people of that region. The figures of dead on the other side and very, very, reported. And even then, they are so low they are obviously lies.

In fact, it is very, very difficult to impossible  to get accurate figures on the dead. Our news usually puts the dead in the Iraq war at a few hundred thousand. But that never counts the dead not killed in fighting, but still dying because of the war.  The real number is probably closer to three million. - and that doesn't count a million or so who are just missing.

Of the dead, a high proportion were children under five. Then, in a country so destroyed for the sake of oil billioaires' profits that it cannot help its own people in need, there are five million orphans. - and seven million refugees, many still dying of starvation, lack of medical care...

Education? Before the American invasion, Iraq had pretty good education. Now, most are illiterate.

The British and Americans have been killing, starving, and orphaning on that scale in Iraq since World War 1. for a conservative estimate of the dead somewhere around 9 million.

Nobody can even make a guess about the killing in Vietnam. Two million men, women and children would be an average guess. It could go to double that, and I've seen even higher estimates. And they're still dying, largely from the tons of agent orange dropped on them. Hundreds of thousands of babies have been born with horrible birth defects that kill them within a few years. As for orphans and widows, who can count?

That's been a marked feature of war, especially since 1914 (though it's always existed.) Weapons are so powerful, they don't discriminate and we - well, we don't give a damn. Churchill allowed 5,000,000  to starve to death in Bengal, though food supplies were available. But it never made the news.

We, at the bidding of some very greedy people, have inflicted horrible destruction of people, of societies, of whole countries in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, and now we're moving in on Yemen.

If I get to hell, I can have the consolation of knowing  that I shall be spending eternity with our upper classes.

What we are doing is as big (actually bigger) and as hateful as what Hitler did to the Jews. And we let it go on for pretty much the same reason Germans did. These people are different from us. So our politicians and our news media have trained us to hate them and to kill them without much thought about it.
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As you might guess from this long prologue, there's not a whole lot in the Irving press to talk about.
The front page has a story on bilingualism that it ran just a couple of days ago. And, again, New Brunswick is encouraged to think of everything in money terms. But this is not an economic issue. This is about people, real people and their rights. I did not spend twenty years of my life fighting French intolerance in Quebec just so I could encourage English intolerance in New Brunswick.

The front page also puts people and their rights on the chopping block in a front page story on plans to close schools. Damn!  When will they learn? You don't start with the budget. You start with society and what it needs. I  have seen no thought whatever given to human needs in our education system. First, you start with a sense of what our children and teachers need. Then you set the budget. And please don't feed me the crap about how we have balance the budget first. I notice I hear that from the same people who are willing to go hugely into debt for a glorified hockey rink. And the same ones who avoid taxes by government favours.

The editorial page simply isn't worth reading. Commontary? There's one of very doubtful journalism ethics. It's by Victor Boudreau, NB's provincial minister of Strategic Prograsmme Reviews (propaganda). It's a self-praising piece about his farcical stunt of "consulting the people" about how the government should govern.

Brent Mazerolle has similar sort of column. This is one about a man who makes a career of convincing us that "entrepreneurs" are a rather superior type of human, and a type essential to our future. Look. An entrepreneur is not more intelligent  or daring and independent that the rest of us. He/she is simply someone who wants to be (or has to be) in business independently. Einstein was not an entrepreneur. But he sill had smarts.  In any case, most of them are not the keys to our future. The proportion of entrepreneurs in our society has been declining for years because the big entrepreneurs, the ones who like to kid us that they are superior, are squeezing them out.

The only column worth reading, and well worth it, is Bill Belliveau on our increasing involvement in wars. This one is his best. (And he appears to be the only person in that paper competent to comment on foreign affairs.)
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On page B1, "Liberals pledge action on Atcon", In fact, if you read paragraph 2, it's quite obvious that action is what premier Gallant did NOT pledge. His starting point is an assumption it was just a big mistake Sorry. When you have a whole cabinet and the premier disregarding the expert advice of the senior civil servants we pay to give advice, when that mistake costs us 70 million dollars, and when the premier's father was a stakeholder in the deal, that doesn't look like a mistake. That looks, at best, like gross stupidity on the part of major figures still in the government or, more likely, corruption. And Gallant  has no intention of doing anything.

There's no story on the nuclear bomb negotiations with Iran, though the deadline is very, very close. I suppose it doesn't matter because the negotiations have nothing to do with Iran's nuclear research. That's because Iran doesn't have any such research. Both the CIA and Israeli intelligence have said that publicly. So has the UN which has routinely make inspections. But our news media have been shy in telling us about that  part. So what's this really all about?

Our oil billionaires want control of Iran's oil and, for that matter, American business in general wants control of the Iran market as part of their strategy  to rule the world.

 Their is no sign of any research to build a bomb. What the US wants is a deal to make Iran subordinate to American big business. If it doesn't sign a deal, and that part is not included, then the US will continue to impose sanctions to force Iran under American control.

Of course, Netanyahu wants to bomb Iran NOW using the nuclear bombs he has with nobody asking questions. And it's quite possible he'll do it - with substantial Republican support in the US. That's awkward because both China and Russia have a big stake in Iran's future.

Meanwhile, we're also busy murdering people of Yemen in what looks very much like Iraq all over again. Actually, the US has been killing them for years with drones. But most of our news media have been too busy to mention it. So we don't even have to think about the horrors of starvation, orphans, and mass murder we're supporting.
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Remember the F-35 fighter bomber that Canada was planning to buy? Development of it has so far cost 1.4 TRILLION dollars. And it still doesn't work.  That wasn't important enough to make the Irving press.

How is it possible to spend so much money on a fighter plane? Well, most of that is due to the phenomenal corruption of the American government and American war industries. A great deal of that money went for political and military bribes (American military leaders are up to their ears in this corruption - and they have been for many decades.)  Another great deal of it went into offshore bank accounts. Of course, that doesn't happen in Canada -as  much.

But the American government has been economically prudent. It is making up some of the cost by cutting food stamps for the hungry. And it's already saving a bundle by doing nothing for the homeless and the rising population of the very poor.

Every day, this looks more and more like the final stages of the Roman Empire. We're seeing greed, corruption and stupidity at the highest levels of government and big business. We.re playing with war to satisfy the gluttony of those who are already overfed. In the process of feeding that ever growing gluttony, we are debasing life for ourselves and our children.

There are things which the greedy and stupid refuse to recognize
1. We cannot survive any major war. The US government, already with the mess of the middle east on its plate, is quite obviously looking for a war with Russia, and has surrounded China as much as it can with nuclear weapons. This is insane.
2. Climate change is happening. The oil industry has spent huge sums to convince us it isn't happening. After all, they make their money out of oil. And they are too short-sighted (another effect of greediness) to even think of the consequences. Read the Irving press for any day. No writer for that paper has ever dared to suggest that there's something wrong with  thinking we can build a future with fossil fuels.
3, The West has created what can be called a stockpile of violence - a violence that has spread world wide, and which is beginning to show up even within the western world.

We cannot survive more government by the greedy and stupid.

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