Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 26: Lazy, cheap, and unethical - Our very own Irving press.

The front page headline is about a commentary that has been submitted to the newspaper, but not yet published. It will, of course, be published, perhaps tomorrow. So why is this story headline news? What the commentary will say is that a decision on whether New Brunswick should approve of fracking should come fast.That's hardly a flash since the opinion comes from a man with a financial interest in fracking.

Why is this the lead story of the day?  I mean, people are going to see the commentary when it appears. And how often have you seen a notice of a commentary column as the lead story in the news? Indeed, why should this appear as a commentary at all? Surely,  the opinion columns are not for people with a conflict of interest. Really, this might be, at best, a letter to the editor.

But there it is on page 1, a statement by Frank McKenna who has made a very successful career out of serving his masters. And it appears in the Irving press, which has done well out of serving those masters, too.

But such obvious pimping for the shale gas industry by a newspaper is about as unethical as one can get.

That said, this unethical bit of pimping on the front page is the best part of a dismal news section.

The editorial is the usual expression of opinion by the village idiot. The renaming of a street for the reasons given is a good idea. But, as an editorial topic? Whoever writes these editorials seems to be a person more fitted to write a gossip column for a village weekly. Norbert's column is trivial and pointless. Alan Cochrane just manages to be trivial.

Brian Gallant's column is a political ad made up of lovely but meaningless thoughts. But it does have one, memorable gem. ".....we have given more workers money to invest by raising the minimum wage to $10,30 per hour." Wow! A whole $10.30 an hour!  Let's see now. What should I invest all that money in? Gold stocks? Shale gas? A mansion?

Oh, yes. And the Liberals are lending money to companies to create jobs. It appears to be their big strategy for dealing with employment. But - well - how is that different from the strategy of every government this province has ever had?

And Alec Bruce has yet another pitch for an events centre.
Canada&World section just stinks as the stories in it are either trivial, or so narrow as to tell us nothing. For the trivial, check out, on p. B1 "Canada's first TV debate..." That was 47 years ago.. It might have a place in a sentimental "remember when" column. But it's not news.

The only item worth reading is "Canada helps block UN plan to rid world of nukes". Most UN members wanted such talks to begin with the middle east. Israel is the only country in that region which has nuclear weapons now. But Saudi Arabia is very close to getting them, and with ISIL right behind it. That, in the middle of complete chaos in the Middle East, is a recipe for disaster. So the UN decided it had to begin the talks.

The US and Canada blocked it. Why? The US is on its knees to Israel. And Harper needs the Canadian Jewish vote for his re-election.

Even the trivia that the Irving press calls Canada&World news carries hidden reminders that the years since Bush have been marked by terminal disaster. Iraq has been so thoroughly destroyed by the US that it now cannot be used to win against ISIL. Neither, probably, can Syria. Netanyahu has been allowed to become so defiant of the US (despite the hundreds of billions the US has given it) that it is quite likely to attack Iran in order to destroy Obama's attempts to settle problems with that country. And it is quite possible that Israel will use nuclear weapons to do so.

The US has decided it has to stay in Afghanistan, perhaps for a long  time. They reality is that the US  (the world's most powerful military nation, we are told), has  not been able to defeat those tribesmen called the Taliban. That's why it has to stay in Afghanistan.

Though the Irving press has scarcely mentioned it, there's a very serious crisis on with China as China claims waters of the South China Sea to be its own. The US refuses to recognize the claims, and is assembling a fleet nearby, and is sending bombers to  the region. China is not going to back off. And American big business will not allow any American government to back off.

Any conflict with China is almost certain to draw in Russia and, quite possibly, India.

It was less than twenty years ago that American big business drafted the document for world rule by the US, and got Bush elected to put it into effect. The document is called The New American Century; and it is still on the web. What it called for was an empire like the collapsed European empires, but an American one, and ruling the whole world - the sort of thing our news media spoke of as being crazy back in the days when they were accusing Hitler of it.

And it is crazy. And it's not working. The US empire is in trouble in the Middle East, in Africa, in Latin America, in Asia - and even at home where it faces rising levels of poverty, the worst social services in the developed world - including both health and education - and a severe resurgence of racial hatreds.

None of this has yet touched the very rich who are still making their biggest profits in history. That is largely due to free trade which not only gives it access to cheap labour in foreign countries, but helps it to lower wages and living standards in the US and Canada.

Will big business be hurt by the decline of North American purchasing power? Not at all. Thanks to free trade and tax havens, its money is safe, and can be invested anywhere is the world. (That's why our politicians and Irving press are talking nonsense when they say we should be happy to make the rich richer because then they will invest in New Brunswick.

No. They won't.They invest to make profits, not to create jobs for New Brunswickers. And now, they can take advantage of Canada by hiding their profits - and investing where they can make even bigger profits - anywhere in the world. Never confuse big business with patriotism or social obligation.

The American Century is not going to happen. And, despite Obama's assurances, "American Exceptionalism" is not part of "God's great plan". So what should Canadians be looking at?

1. Stop being servants to American foreign policies. We became a colony of the US for the same reason we were a colony to France and then to Britain - we needed them to defend Canada against the US.  Then we needed the US to protect us from the US. So we became a puppet state. But the military realities today are quite different. With the advent of long range weapons we are now vulnerable to attack from many countries. We should certainly remain friendly with the US - but there's no longer a need for us to accept strings attached to that friendship.

2. We need to get back control of our own country by putting an end to business, any business, claiming the right to rule us. What was capitalism has become an aristocracy of birth (which, incidentally, seems to be very, very anti-feminist. Will a woman never rule Irving ltd.?)  Government has shown itself to be economically incompetent and socially disastrous. We need to restore democracy.

3. We need to define which areas of economic activity can (with regulation) be controlled by private business, and which ones must be run by government.

4. We need to get rid of overpriced newspapers that are run on the cheap with too few reporters, and that report only trivia and propaganda. They also cover very little news of Canada and the World because they're too cheap to pay for the stories that come from news services. They're also so cheap that they run columns written by underpaid reporters rather than expert columnists, and even so cheap that they run freebie columns by politicians and propaganda institutes like The Fraser and The C.D.Howe Institute.


And just a couple of items worth looking at. One is a reminder of the vietnam war  when pop singers had more to say that uh, yeah...

The other deals with what we can do, even just a few of the we. One of them (I forget which) must be good because it has an Irving ad.



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