Friday, May 15, 2015

May 15: Blah!

It's hard to write about a paper that keeps sliding downhill. I understand the need to cut costs in print journalism as the competition for advertising gets more difficult. But the Irving press, with its near monopoly of print news in New Brunswick, Does not appear to be suffering from lack of advertising. In fact, its thick inserts of advertising supplements is a substantial part of my garbage.

The banner headine "Mounties face labour charges in June 4 Moncton shootings" sounds impressive, saying each charge could result in fines of a million dollars and prison sentences. However, available information is so limited that it is impossible to understand what this is all about. The story mentions lack of firepower, lack of armoured vests, and unclear radio instructions. That's bad, and the lack of firepower was obvious at the time. But it doesn't sound like a million dollars and a prison sentence. It's also misleading in saying "mounties" face charges when it's not all the mounties but, probably, certain ones at the administrative level.

In short, this isn't yet a front page story because there isn't enough information available. And it's a sloppy headline. Indeed, the story smells of cheap sensationalism.

Also on the front page, the project to turn Castle Manor into condos is in trouble.  Good. It's an ugly, pretentious, and tasteless imitation of a medieval castle, something quite common in the world of  a pretentious. faux-aristocratic, tasteless, and posturing upper middle class of the late nineteenth century.

A3 has the story "New APEC head confident in overcoming region's demographic and fiscal issues". APEC is referred to as an independent think tank. But there is no such thing as an independent think tank. All think-tanks are dependent on somebody or somebodies for revenue. After all, somebody has to pay what I'm sure is the large salary of Finn Poschmann, the new CEO of Atlantic Provinces  Economic Council which is dedicated to "economic progress" in Atlantics Canada.

Actually, APEC is funded by the very rich, and it's dedicated to making them even richer by spewing out their lies and propaganda - and calling it "research". That's what most (not all) "think-tanks" are about.

Poschmann was working at the C.D.Howe Institute which, the story tells us, is non-partisan. That's true in that it does not support the policies of the Liberals or the Conservatives. What it does is to support both of them by doing 'research' as propaganda for parties friendly to big business.  The C.D.Howe Institutes is, in fact, a propaganda house for big business.

We are told that Mr. Poschmann has written more than 50 peer-reviewed articles. Peer-reviewed is an academic term meaning his articles were read and approved by independent experts in the field. However, most think tanks do not have independent experts in any field. This means that his articles were "reviewed" by other propaganda hacks at the C.D.Howe Institute.

In short, Mr. Poschmann is a hired hand of the Irvings and their friends to give an air of academic respectability to help the push to satisfy their self-interest and greed. And this news story is based on either ignorance or deliberate lying.  That's the price of holding a job at the Irving press.
Good editorial!  As a person who lived in Quebec, and was, for many years, a leader of the anglo rights movement in that province, I can assure you that New Brunswick's language legislation is excellent, and the relations between the two groups mutually rewarding. English still dominates, and anglos are much less likely to become bilingual; but that's a natural result of being in the majority group. It also has something to do with gender. My sister was fluently bilingual by the age of seven because her playmates were French.

Boys, though, were commonly unilingual because they fought, often in gang wars. Both sides were the losers for that.

Norbert has a column on the hospitals. To save you reading time, what he does is to say Harrumph a couple of hundred times, then close with a Something Must be Done About It line.

The City Views commentary column doesn't have any comment or views.

The bottom commentary is by a policy professor at UBC, and it's on taxation policy, I really don't trust Troy Media; and I don't trust this article. It has the false logic of comparing spending on youth and the retirees without the slightest glance at what the needs are.

Alec Bruce is excellent on climate change, and how big business is beginning to wake up to what it means. The oil industry will, of course, the the last to wake up. (I don't think the boss will like this column.)
In Canada&World, only one story is worth reading. It's on B5, Free Trade bill back on track in U.S. Congress. In short, it means the U.S.government is driving hard to get a fast passage for the Trans-Pacific Trade as soon as the terms are settled.  There are, essentially, (though the TandT doesn't say so) two purposes to this deal.

1. To isolate China until it agrees to let US big business control its economy.
2. For business, it's to get a deal that will allow big business to operate over much of the world under terms that free if from any obligation to give a damn about the environment, and free it to hire the cheapest labour in the world, thereby driving down wages and killing the ability to offer social programmes in their home countries.

That's been the purpose of free trade deals from the start. And this one is being written almost entirely by big business. It's short-sighted. It's greedy. It's going to cause severe suffering. So what else is new?  Good thing we have Harper to protect the people of Canada.

There is little but trivia in the rest of B section - and almost nothing of the world in general. I don't know whether that's because the Irving press is designed to keep us ignorant and trivial, or because it's cheaper to do it that way, or because the news editors just don't have a clue.
So, very quickly, here's what's happening in the Middle East and Africa. For well over a century, (well over three centuries if you count the slave trade)  the western imperial powers - mainly Britain, France, Belgium and now the US have been pillaging those regions, murdering on a wide scale, exploiting, abusing.

Most of its "nations" are quite artificial, created by the imperial powers by drawing lines on maps. Typically, they were then put under dictators bought by the imperial powers. That's where Saddam Hussein came from. That's where the "royal family' of Saudi Arabia came from.

In the last century or so, in particular, an old world was destroyed with no opportunity for the people in that world to learn how to participate in the new one. So it is that we have nations that really aren't nations fighting internally, and identifying the enemy in religious terms. The enemy becomes anyone who belongs to any variant of the "true" faith. European Christians went through a spell like that centuries ago.

They also identify an enemy as Christianity - which is really unfair because there is nothing Christian about the western imperial countries.

U.S. policy ( like British and French policy before it) was to force submission by military conquest. But that's not working.  It has simply increased all the fears and hatreds.It is what really created Al Quaeda and ISIS.  It will never work. I think the American government now realizes that. And Obama has adjusted accordingly. After all, western big business doesn't care about establishing democracy or more modern states. All it cares about is the oil and other minerals it can steal.

So, taking a page from the British book, American policy is to let them fight each other. In fact, encourage them to fight each other. It's good for the US arms industry, and it destroys the chance of any of those "nations' ever becoming a real nation with a modern government and a capacity to function in the interest of its own people.
The word now seems to be to let them kill each other. Let them create millions of refugees. Let them create chaos and horror and poverty and starvation. It saves us the trouble of doing that. As long as we get the oil and the other resources and out stockholders do well - then what the hell, let these people destroy themselves.

Okay. But that game isn't as easy as it looks. It is creating hatreds and fears in Europe; and those will have their own consequences. It has already made police states of many countries - including the US and Canada.  It also provides openings in those regions for China and Russia, both of whom know they're next on the list for the American economic empire.

And that takes us to the next crisis. The US military record, for all its huge cost, has not been impressive since 1945. Little Vietnam stopped it. Little Afghanistan stopped it. I should think it very unlikely it could beat China and Russia without going nuclear.

And the pressure is on to move fast because the American empire is in a dangerous, economic condition. And that could well be matched by a dangerous domestic condition.

That's the big picture that the news stories don't even hint at.

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