Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March 30: The news is bunk

After I finished yesterday's blog, I came across a stunning poll result. Sixty percent of adult Americans believe that the U.S. army uncovered weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And a similar percentage thought that the U.S. won the Iraq  war.

Now, I know such polls are rarely as accurate as they claim to be. But even if the true figure is somewhat less, even if it's a good deal less,  this is stunning. And it tells us a great deal about the state of privately-owned journalism in North America. (Not just the U.S.).

Almost every adult North American  has access to a  hundred or more TV channels, radio stations, newspapers and computer sites that are our major sources to get the news. One would think we'd be the best-informed people in human history. But, apparently, that's not so.

Let's look at the weapons of mass destruction first. Did you ever hear the term 'weapons of mass destruction' before the Iraq war? I didn't. I heard of nuclear weapons, poison gas, carpet bombing. But never of 'weapons of mass destruction'. What does it mean?

Nobody ever said what it meant. That's because it was a propaganda word, a fear word. Mass destruction could refer to any weapon at all, perhaps starting with the machine gun of over a century ago. In fact, almost every army in the world for the past century and more has used weapons of mass destruction. Our news media will brag about our latest weapons of mass destruction even as we self-righteously denounce others for having them - even as we don't know what they are.

(Incidentally, Iraq did have some poison gas. It was supplied to it by the U.S. for its war against Iran.)

It should have been obvious to everyone from the start that they were being conned into a war. Nobody ever  found any weapons of mass destruction (except for the usual ones that all armies have.)  Bush and Blair lied to us in order to start a war that killed over a million people. Even journalists have known for a long time that it was all lies.

But 60% of the American adult population doesn't know that.

What does that tell you about our North American news media? More specifically, what does it tell you about the Irving press.?

Bush and Blair lied. They murdered over a million people. They are, by any definition I can think of, war criminals. They are what we hanged at Nuremberg.
So what was the war really about? It was about using Iraq as a base for an American attack on Iran. That's why the U.S. spent billions on an embassy-fortress in Baghdad. It was the biggest and most expensive embassy in the world. That's why they kept a large army in Iraq AFTER Hussein was hanged. And that takes us to the other belief - that the US won the war in Iraq.

No, it didn't.

Oh, it did destroy the Iraq army - which was no longer a threat to anybody, anyway. And it hanged Hussein. But that's not why the war was fought. It was fought  to provide a base for the attack on Iran. And the purpose of that would be to cut off the supply of Iranian oil to Russia and China.

But the great embassy-fortress in Baghdad was abandoned because the US was chased out of Iraq by the Iraqi people. That's what's called losing a war.
The U.S., thanks to ISIS, is grudgingly accepted in part of Iraq now. And, before leaving, it did manage to create a puppet 'democracy' . It's even possible it's going to take another stab at Iran. Lately, the U.S. is filling the news with stories that Iran has - gasp - missiles. Horrors! (Can you name any country in the world that doesn't have missiles?)

The U.S. might well be thinking of invading Iran. But it's hard to imagine they will be doing it from Iraq.

All of this information has been widely available for years. At least some of it should be available by common sense. But how much of it have you seen in the mainstream North American news media?

Incidentally, there was no reason at all for the the other losing war in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan government had offered to arrest Osama bin Laden, and send him to an international court if they could be supplied with some evidence which, under international law, was the way to do it. The U.S. used that as its excuse to invade Afghanistan - and our private news media never made a peep that this was no reason at all for an invasion. (Anyway, that wasn't the real reason for the invasion.)

And that is why Canadians were sent to die in Afghanistan, to give a facade of international anger at the evil behaviour of Afghanistan. And that war, too, has been lost, and worse than lost. But you won't find any of this in most of the private news media - and certainly not in the Irving press.

Those who died in Afghanistan will be remembered, as they should be, on Nov. 11.  But will there be anyone at the ceremony with the integrity to say how ashamed we should be for sending them to die?

The decline, the propaganda, and the lying  of our private news media is a tragedy that leads to greater tragedies.   One of them is today's editorial in the Irving press.
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Even Norbert has grasped how serious and immediate the problem of burning fossil fuel is. We have very little time to get it under control - if, indeed, it can be brought under control. Nor do we have any idea whether Canada, itself, will be a livable place. We're nowhere close to understanding  how it will affect our land, our water, our wildlife, our insects, our vegetation - all those things that life depends on. Even here in Moncton, no thought whatever has been given   to the possible impact of climate change in this city.

Climate change is going to create refugees all over the world. A great many of them will be from the U.S. and  Canada. We can't handle the refugee crisis from the middle east. And this one will almost certainly be many, many times greater.
And we get a brainless editorial about burning more of the stuff to help reopen the Picadilly Mine. And this seems to reflect a level of brainlessness that goes right up to the ownership of this paper. The destruction of us common folks will also (but the rich will never believe this) destroy the rich, too.      
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Norbert is back on his old beat. Governments, he says, do not create jobs. (He also raises a moral aspect. Should they create jobs?   I don't know why he asks that - because he never deals with it.)

Norbert, open  your sparkling little eyes. Governments in New Brunswick don't create jobs because they're not the ones who run government. The wealthy do.  They always have. And the wealthy are not interested in creating jobs because jobs cost money. Sometimes, they have to create jobs; but they do it as cheaply as possible. More often, they destroy jobs to use cheap labour in other countries. That's what free trade is all about.

And, regularly, the wealthy destroy jobs by their sheer incompetence. That's what 1929 and the dirty thirties  were about. It was government, not private business, that got us out of that one - with the help of a war. And we have been living in uncertain economic times  because of corporate incompetence and abuse of power for some years now. And corporate bosses have steadily become richer while they make us poorer.

Brian Cormier has his usual idea of a commentary. It's headline should be. "Ain't nuthin' happenin', folks. Go back to sleep."

Dr. Tom Barry, regional chief of medical staff  with Horizon Health has what might be a good one. But I can't tell. The topic is so broad, so vague, and so weak in examples that it comes close to the type of editorial that ends - something must be done!

I would suggest another try at this one - with the advice of a writer.

Alec Bruce has a very sensible column on climate change. The weakness is it might be too late for the changes he suggests.

For a real, wake-up call, try this article from the New Yorker.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/21/the-siege-of-miami  
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There's very little about Canada in the Canada&World Section. And virtually nothing about the World.

The federal Libeals are bringing in a bill that would prevent unions from demanding 'unaffordable' conditions. An who will decide what's 'unaffordable'? Well, the government, in some form,   will. And who will guide the government's view of what is unaffordable? Well, that would be the corporations who fund elections for the right kind of people.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion has refused to push for nuclear disarmament. He says it's not a good time. And he's right. It he tried any such thing, he'd get spanked on his bare bottom by the U.S.

The unions are backing Mulcair to continue as leader of the NDP. That's bad news.

I support unions in their primary work of improving salaries and working conditions. But I also remember well how they destroyed the NDP from the its beginnings out of the old CCF.It is the unions that made it an imitation of the Liberal party - and maybe even the Conservatives. That was the price the unions levelled for donating funds to the CCF. The result is a party that no longer offers anything different from the others.

The same is true of Mulcair. We have met. I liked him. He's a nice guy, and a very intelligent one. But his political thinking is very close to that of a Trudeau.
The NDP needs fundamental change. It needs to go back to principles on which the  CCF was founded.
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Here's a story I'm just catching up on. CBC had a huge building in Montreal. I remember being at the opening because I was on air for CBC at the time. The speaker was Pierre Trudeau. The staff in attendance was both French and English, with the French side well known to be avid separatists.

Trudeau stepped up to the microphone. His lips moved. But we heard no sound. Trudeau grinned, raised his arms to the crowd, and shouted "La guerre!. La Guerre!"  (War! War!)

Laughter broke the tension, and the sound system went on.

Now, the official announcement is that the building is too run down, and too expensive to repair. The CBC has been instructed by its board to sell it, and to lease (but not build) a smaller one. As I read this, I thought of Moncton High which was too expensive to repair but, now, miraculously, not too expensive to repair.

I note, too the board of directors, largely made up of the corporate world, refuses to say what the repairs would have cost or what fitting up the leased building would cost.

Then I thought of Moncton CBC whose building  was sold, with the studios  moving to a leased and smaller space.

And, I note in the story that the Montreal CBC building which supposedly was too expansive to repair is being bought by  some of Montreal's biggest moneymen with close, government connections.

What's happening? We're being ripped off by the usual billionaires who have all the Liberals and Conservatives in their pockets. The next step will be to privatize the CBC. depriving us of the last, really professional news service in Canada.
So put your faith in Norbert Cunningham and the editors of the Irving press. We are seeing the future. And they are it.

http://renx.ca/cbcradio-canada-downsizing-and-developing-in-montreal/
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The site for Information Clearing house has not had anything new in almost a week. This  has happened before. It usually means its computer system has been disabled by government and/or private agents.
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Reports now say that sea level are rising far more quickly that expected. It also suggests that it could force the abandonment of some major cities within decades. But, as the Irving editorial says, we really gotto burn from fossil fuel. It'll create jobs.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/30/sea-levels-set-to-rise-far-more-rapidly-than-expected
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Corruption and lying in the news media has a long history. Here's one about Associated Press, an agency which appears commonly in the Irving press.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/30/associated-press-cooperation-nazis-revealed-germany-harriet-scharnberg
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And here's a story so astonishing it's hard to believe how even an Irving editor could miss is. It's too early to speculate on what it means. But it's undeniably important.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/30/russia-and-us-planning-military-coordination-against-isis-in-syria
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An interesting point about the story below is that it tells of how the U.S. behaves toward people in the Caribbean and Latin America. But none of those incidents ever made the Irving press. And, oh, wouldn't it be interesting to find out if any Irvings have major investments in mining in places like Latin America?

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/03/hillary-clinton-faux-feminism-160328105225310.html
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A reader sent the following commentary to me. I don't agree with it. I think the author is more than a little gilb and superficial and, certainly, does not know much about the hitory of t he middle east (or Ukraine). However, we should look even at those items we disagree with - and it's worth noting that wars are not always good guys against bad guys. Sometimes, the bad guys are on both sides. I have no doubt that ISIS is unspeakably cruel. But we should remember it was the Christians in the US who stood behind their government when it carried out the biggest torture operations in history. It was also Christian, for the most part, who were the only people ever to use  nuclear bombs in war.Adolf Hitler was a Christian. Christian chaplains served in his armies.

It was also Christians who destroyed native people and stole their land all over the world.

Yes, Islamic ideologies should be examined. So should Christian ones. So should the Judaic ones as proclaimed by Israel.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/west-not-responsible-jihadist-violence-islamist-ideology-1552069
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     The same reader also sent me a very powerful commentary.
We all have an illusion that there is something special that makes us Canadian. But it's worth remembering that we are all refugees. Even our native peoples are  refugees from lands that could no longer support them.     My mother was a refugee from the misery and poverty that was the Scotland of her childhood. My French, many times great-grandfather fled a France that offered no hope for the poor. Acadians were here for the same reason. There were the United Empire Loyalists, both Black and White, who fled the American revolution. I grew up in a district mostly French. But the children I met in school were European Jews, Italians, Syrians, Poles - and I would later teach children from just about every country on earth. And they were almost all refugees.

The idea that we all have a common, Canadian culture is absurd. Every group of us refugees has elements of culture derived from ancestry, social class, religious beliefs. level of education....And nobody I've ever heard or read could define the elements of the culture he or she claimed to have.

The U.S. been big on the notion that there is an American culture. That flowered in the campaign against unAmericanism. That is all rubbish. Barrack Obama has very little in common with the Blacks - or the whites - who sleep on the streets of Los Angeles.

As a Canadian-born guy raised in the United Church of Canada, my best friend at teachers' college was an Italian-born guy who became a Pentecostal missionary in Africa. It never occured to us we had different cultures.

The west frets over its middle east refugees. and we hear claims they will detract from our culture - the one that we don't know what it is. We are, like every nation in human history, a mixture of elements from various 'cultures'. We have been for many thousands of years. Get used to it because there's a lot more mixing to come.    

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/bring-refugee-crisis-europe-middle-east-needs-it-126364883

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