Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sept. 22: A new world shaping up? You won't hear about it in the Irving press.

The headline story for today is “Jury shown photos of Oland death scene. This is pure, scandal-magazine sensationalism. It's followed a big photo of rocks and heavy equipment on Main Street looking just like every pile of big rocks and heavy equipment I have ever seen. It's a photo that tells us nothing. Then there's the front page story on “New Brunswickers love their moose hunting” Then, there's a story that the province's social development minister loves her job.

There's nothing in any of these stories. The one about death photos of Oland might appeal to readers of a certain type. But it's no major news of the day. The social development minister loves her work? I'd be more interested if she knew something about it. As she makes clear, she not only knows nothing about it, but seems to have no sense of what principles she should work from. She lists things that need attention – like long-term care, mental and physical problems….but seems to know nothing about them. She says first we have to develop a bigger vision – whatever that means. What principles will that vision be based on? Who knows? This is all mindless bafflegab that tell us nothing.

The job of a reporter is to ask questions that push her further. What does she mean by “bigger vision”? She says we're going to get creative. Okay, what, exactly, does that mean? Precisely what values are she and the government working from? They need the business community for this? Why? After all, we didn't elect the business community. And what are her qualifications for the job?

The real message of this story seems to be that the government doesn't have any principles that it's working from, it has no bigger vision, the minister is talking and thinking in a vacuum, and has done virtually nothing since coming to office.

Reporters, real reporters, are not just stenographers to take notes. They should ask the questions that expose the realities.

The editorial favours the development of shale gas. Quelle surprise! Even more, it says the president and CEO of Corridor Resources says it's a good idea. So there!

Editorials in newspapers generally reflect the opinions of the owners of the paper. That's why they so often read like propaganda. Commonly, all the editorial staff will meet to agree on the topic and the viewpoint. The editorial then becomes the official policy of the newspaper.

Why should a newspaper have an official policy? Is it because editors all have great minds, and insights that us ordinary mortals don't have? And if it has an official policy, doesn't that mean biased reporting and discussion of the subject?

Well, I've known and liked a great many editors. But in the course of that, I also learned that few have outstanding minds. (Nor have I seen anything approaching even an average mind in the Irving press.)

As for declaring editorial opinion as an official policy of the paper, it strikes at the heart of what journalism should be. It should be to give us news without bias; it is not to hand down its judgement from on high. Any news medium that has an official policy on any issue is bound to become a propaganda house.

So why do they have such a concept if it's so destructive of honest journalism, and of giving us a full range of opinion?
It's because that's what the owner wants. The owner wants New Brunswickers to be a people who know nothing and do nothing but what they're told. That's why Alan Cochrane (also an editor) has a column on cleaning up the military gear and the steam engine in Centennial Park – a column that wasn't worth reading the first time it appeared (yesterday, I think), and is still worthless.

The Irving press has never done honest and balanced coverage of the shale gas issue. In the language of this editorial, the CEO of Corridor is a great guy who has been listening to the debate over shale gas carefully, and all he wants is to help the people of New Brunswick. Sort of like Florence Nightingale. It ends - “We wish the alliance (Corridor Resources and friends) all the best in this endeavour.) What a kiss-up! And what an insult to all the rest of us!

Now, guess what your chances are of getting honest coverage of the shale gas issue.

Louise Gilbert has a column on the International Day of Older Persons which, in Moncton and area, will include public gatherings. Well, it's nice. But it sounds awfully close to rocking a baby to sleep. 'Older Persons' don't need that. They need intellectual stimulation.
Canada&World opens with the big national and world story that the New Brunswick opposition party is criticizing the government. And that probably is the biggest story in the section. So let's scrap it.

The big story gets no attention at all.

Let's start by dumping a myth – that nations are friendly or unfriendly to each other. Let's get real. Their is no such thing as friendship between national governments. Our great friends of the American nation have invaded Canada many times – in the American revolution, in 1812, then shortly after the American Civil War with sponsored invasions of Canada. It threatened to take the Canadian west shortly after confederation. Remember, that's why we sent an army into the west – but called it the Northwest Mounted Police so the U.S. government would not be offended that we dared to put an army there. It threatened to use force against Canada shortly before the World War One. To this day, it ignores our claims to much of the north, including the Northwest Passage.

It did not join either World War to help us or Britain. In both cases, it entered these wars ( very late) out of self-interest. Particularly on the part of big business in the U.S. And it both cases, it did its best to destroy British economic power.

All countries act for their own advantage – which commonly means the advantage of the very rich. Then the news media spread the story that we're doing it out of friendship. Oh, and the news media also give our side the support of God, while the other side is evil.

Was Hitler evil? Sure. So was Britain in the days when it built an empire that killed, looted, starved millions of people all over the world. So was the U.S. evil in killing of millions of innocent people in Vietnam, South America, Iraq….and on. And all that killing was done to make rich people richer.

Right now, Syrians are evil, and the U.S. has been equipping and training mercenaries to kill them. However, the millions who flee their homes because they've been bombed out by U.S. bombs in a war created by the U.S., are good – unless they want to come to Canada or the U.S. Then they're a threat to security.

Israel is our friend, But the leader of Israel, Netanyahu, just went to Moscow where he had a very friendly talk with Putin. It seems that have a lot in common, and are now friends. Now, Canada and the U.S. are not friends with Russia. Both Canada and the U.S. are even thinking of war with Russia. Cuba was a U.S. enemy. Now, it's a friend. Funny how buddies can switch around so quickly. And, I suspect, we are at the edge of some very big switching.

Nations don't operate on the basis of friendship. That's the drivel you read in editorials – but it's not true. They operate entirely on self-interest – and it's usually economic self-interest.

Now – to the Middle East.

Israel has just made a friendly approach to Russia on the issue of intervention in Syria to help the Syrian government. But Israel's good friend, the U.S., has been trying to destroy the Syrian government for years. So – is Israel trying to annoy its friend the U.S. by supporting Russian intervention to save that government?

And why would Putin even care to intervene? When did Russia and Syria become friends?

And, if the U.S. wants Assad destroyed, why is it helping in the war against ISIS which is now destroying Assad for it?

Well, try this.

Putin is helping the Syrian government because he wants Russia to take part in the great hunt for oil in the region. Syria would also give him a pipeline for Russian oil to go to Europe, thereby providing competition for U.S. oil barons.

Israel's Netanyahu visited Putin because he wants a deal that would guarantee no intervention in Israel, and would also open the door for him to annex more of Gaza and Syria and Lebanon to create the greater Israel he longs for.

He may also be thinking that the 'friendship' with the U.S. is iess useful than it used to be – and he may well be thinking that U.S. power is in decline, anyway – so he needs new friends.

Saudi Arabia is playing games, too. It has been making nice to Russia, for example, while for reasons never explained, it is bombing and starving Yemen with heavy U.S. support. Is it possible that Saudi Arabia is looking at an oil future that will have less to do with the U.S.?

It looks very much as though the Middle East, in this terrible confusion, may be looking at new friends to compensate for a U.S. decline. And we may be looking at a very changed world within a decade.

All this may go down in history as the product of the biggest blunder ever – George Bush Jr's. Invasion of Iraq. (and Afghanistan and his drone-bombings of Pakistan). It was a blunder that not only created chaos throughout the Middle East and beyond to wherever Muslims live. It has killed nobody knows how many; it has created a refugee crisis that Europe can't handle – and that Canada and the U.S. won't handle.

It is creating a social crisis in the U.S. as monstrous budgets are dedicated to the most expensive military in the world, budgets inflated by an equally monstrous corruption in government and the war industries.
Over a trillion dollars has been spent so far just on the Afghanistan war, and with an end nowhere in sight. Nor has anything been gained by all these wars. And there is nothing to spare for the American people.

The world is changing dramatically, largely as a consequence of the greed and stupidity of American oil billionaires who are spending our money on a scale that can never be justified by the profit the billionaires will make. And it's all being spent to produce even more of a product that we know is destroying the world.

“This is the way the world ends,
Not with a bang, but a whimper.”

Hey! Let's hear it for shale gas.

The leaders of the political parties in this election (Minus Harper) held a debate.

Thomas Mulcair was in Moncton today. He spoke on the boardwalk by the river early this morning to quite a large crowd. News media were well represented. I mingled with them, looking for an Irving reporter; but I couldn't find one.

I don't believe I saw an article in yesterday's paper to tell us that he was coming. Will there be a report tomorrow? Something to watch for.

As a footnote to this, Mulcair was speaking in less than a one minute walk from a small street named after Harper's family.

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