Friday, July 24, 2015

July 25: Yesterday, I wrote of how a reporter handled the Greece crisis...

....he characterized the Greek government as radical and leftist-led. That may not seem very important. But last night I was reminded it was important. I was checking the CBC news site. It had a story about the Greek crisis. At the end of the news, there was an invitation to reply to the site, giving some opinion about the news. So I read the replies..

One said that the crisis was to be expected because leftists always make a mess of things. Now, the CBC story never said it was caused by leftists. In fact, it wasn't. The current Greek government inherited a mess created by the right wing government before it. (As well, the current Greek government has yet to do anything that could be called leftist.) So why did the person who replied make the charges he did?

That's because our news media frequently used loaded language deliberately to plant the idea that to be on the left is to be incompetent or even evil.  And so people who really don't understand what's going on just naturally assume that the left is at fault. It can very simple - just by tacking on the adjectives leftists and left-led.

In news that is to come, Pope Francis has been invited to speak to the U.S. Congress within months. This will be interesting because he, recently, has spoken very harshly of capitalism, calling it a cause of mass murder, using the unpapal word 'dung' to describe it.  But in moral terms, virtually all Republicans and Democrats, including Catholics, idealize capitalism. After all, it's capitalists who make them rich by paying them for their votes in Congress. However, I really don't think that Pope Francis will mince his words. His is one, tough cookie. And that creates a problem for the Irving press.

It has never reported on the many, many public statements by Pope Francis on the subject of capitalism. But this time, it will be happening just  over the border and, since no pope before has ever spoken to Congress, it's going to be big news. So, what will the Irving press do?

My guess is that it will lie. For a better understanding of what will happen, see the site below.
The only story worth reading in section A is the front page headline story. Too bad it's so badly written that it's hard to get a clear sense of what it's about. A medical research centre is being launched in Moncton.

The first thing I noticed is that the story is mostly about this as a boost to the economy - all of it highly speculative - in fact, guesses or worse. It reminds me of the pitch for the events centre. What this means in medical terms - I have no idea from the story.

Our beloved MP, 'smirky Goguen was here to get all the possible votes out of  this - though he's such a minor figure in the government, it's not likely he had anything to do with it.

And there is no mention of the opinion of Moncton's medical people about this. That is surely odd.

Then we learn that the medical research centre will be a private for profit business. And it got a big, forgivable loan of $750,000 to get started., plus other funding.  This, says Goguen, will encourage economic development throughout the region. And that statement tells us this smells.

In short, this is major move of private business into our health system. If such a research centre is needed, why should it be private for profit?. Health care is not a business.  It's a social responsibility

But what the CEO says in this story is that health-care is a huge, untapped market in this region. And Health -Care spending in Canada amounts to a "huge number.". In other words, it's something for very rich people to make money out of.

I'd like to know a lot more than was in this story because I think we've been sold out.
The editorial is a bit of a smarmy one, and really is largely a copy of news story that appeared yesterday. It's about women's equality and encouraging women to get involved in politics and business as  equals.  It's a safe topic, of course. But what might give it more zip would be a list of all the women who are editors of Irving press.

There is an excellent letter on the coarseness of a local lawyer who specializes in getting people charged with drunk driving off the hook. He thinks it's funny to have a car licence plate that reads DUI DR.
Norbert writes about the federal election race. It's, very sensibly, a cautious column. And a good one.

The guest columnist is the V.P. of the Business Council of British Columbia. It really doesn't say much. And that's just as well, because it's written in the jargon of a high level business meeting, and will have no meaning to over 90% of readers.

Gwynne Dyer is excellent on a topic our news media haven't really looked at. The U.S. wants Japan to re-arm and prepare for war overseas. But the Japanese constitution forbids Japan to have a military for anything but home defence. That is a condition imposed by the U.S. in 1945. So why the change of heart?

In 1945, the U.S. expected to take over China and its market in a walk. It didn't want any competition for Asian markets. It wanted everything. But the Chinese decided otherwise.Now, U.S. big business wants a war with China. But, oh, China is pretty big. So now the U.S. needs a powerful Japan to help it against China and, possibly Russia. (Dyer does give all this information. But that's what it's all about.)

And the Japanese people don't want to used to fight another war. They are quite happy to have just a defence force.

However, the U.S. created a Japanese government after world war 2 that was modeled on the U.S. government. That is, it looked democratic but was actually controlled by a small number of very wealthy families. They want war, just like American wealthy families want war - because there's money in it.

So those families and the U.S. are both ignoring the constitution the U.S. created, and using their power of government to re-arm.

There's a lot more detail here than Dyer gives. But it's needed to understand what's going on. It's a good read.

Alec Bruce does it again.  He tells an interesting and enjoyable story about his home town. But there's really no opinion about anything in this 'opinion' column, and there's no point to it.
Canada&World is its usual sloppy and often meaningless self. Page B1 has a big story about a federal  (Conservative) minister criticizing the Liberals. It's about the child tax credits. I got my cheque today. Big deal. It comes from the taxes I pay. Harper is simply using our money to buy us for the election. Next year, we'll have to pay it back in taxes. It's a mug's game.

More striking is the article at the bottom of that page. It's about a warning from the UN that Canada's anti-terror bill goes against international obligations and against human rights in Canada. And there's more. Much more.  Our Public Safety Minister replies that it's okay because our close allies use the same measure to protect their own citizens.

Too bad that our Public Safety MInister didn't read those sections of the report   that had to do with our 'close allies'. And the report gets worse.

It mentions our failure to investigate the cases of disappeared aboriginal women, and our failure to exercise oversight on the behaviour of Canadian mining companies outside Canada. Both are disgraceful. Native women are murdered or they disappear - and nobody cares. As for Canadian mining companies, their behaviour is just like that of our 'close allies', the U.S. Their behaviour is brutal, destructive both of the environment and of lives, and often murderous and even murderous on mass scale. It's degrading. It's dehumanizing. And some of our finest families do it.

The report also mentions prison conditions in Canada, violence against women, lower salaries for women, detention of immigrants ( who are held in prison, sometimes for years, with no charge against them), and the issue of how Revenue Canada strips tax-free status from any charity that Harper doesn't like.

This is an important story.

Canada has, of course, always had faults - the treatment of women and native peoples are testimony to that. But we have become much worse. This is not the Canada I grew up in. And it's not the Canada I ever wanted to see. We have become a vicious nation, indifferent to the suffering and death we impose on others,  and offering help largely to the very rich, with a Senate (never worth much) that is now an international disgrace. And we are going back to the bad old policies of the great depression when we starved the poor to give higher profits to the already rich who had caused the depression.

I know I have often said that the re-election of Harper would be the end of Canada. That wasn't just a wild accusation. With the help of the U.S., we may already be too far gone to be a nation again.

B5 has a story on how the U.S. is equipping, financing, and training Iraq troops in the fight against ISIS. It  (with Canada) is also providing air support. That shouldn't be a surprise.  The U.S has been doing that sort of thing for forty years and more. Among the troops it has supported and equipped and trained have been those of ISIS and Al Quaeda. In fact, in more than one sense, ISIS and Al Quaeda were created by the U.S.

U.S. foreign policy with its whole focus on controlling foreign economies and looting foreign countries has been a disaster most of the time since 1945. It's a foreign policy that benefits only the rich, that has killed millions, and simply generates more hatred against the U.S., Britain and Canada all over the world. All that this policy has done is to create war without end. These are wars of pure greed - and they are wars that feed on themselves to create more wars. This isn't really policy. It's unspeakable arrogance and mass insanity.

On the last page, international bankers have now forced even worst conditions on Greece. The Greek premier doesn't believe they will do anything to solve Greece's economic problem - not ever. And  he's right. There are better and more humane ways to deal with this. But the bankers with loans to Greece (many of the same ones who are bleeding Ukraine dry) want blood, and they want it now. When Europe gave money to a starving Greece, the bankers insisted on getting 90% of it.

Whenever there has been a recession or a depression, capitalists have always been able to use it to make themselves richer and everybody else poorer. Read professor Saillant's book on the New Brunswick debt to see capitalism in action.              

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