Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 28: New Brunswick = conformity=one hell of a price.

I begin my day checking out the news on CBC. No, not on television.  My days on TV taught me that TV news is overexcited newscasters talking as fast as they can while viewers sit in a stupor watching changing camera angles and shifting colours. Female newscasters are usually young and good-looking,  while their make counterparts can be unspeakably homely and shapeless. TV news isn't news. It's just  shifting colours and noises, very relaxing for minds that don't want to think. So I read it on the computer.

Unlike Norbert, I think CBC news is pretty good. But I have also noticed that it's weak on analysis of the news. That weakness hit a peak with the item below that we should be nicer to oil companies.


I see no reason we should be nice to either of them.

CBC even dips, occasionally, into a gushing style of news presentation that amounts to propaganda. The latest - and we can see this is all news media - is the reference to the leaders of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada as the three amigos.
It sounds like an old and corny western movie featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. Worse, it gives a sense that their current meeting on trade is a get together of good' ol' boys jes' havin' a good time.

National leaders are not buddies. They represent whoever their backers are and, sometimes, they even represent the people who elected them. The national leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are not fairy godfathers, and they are not meeting in Ottawa as a sorority of fairy godfathers. But that is what we are getting in place of news. It's happening in the print media, too - as in the irving press.

Obama is not Canada's friend. He has to think first of the big money that gave him some of their money to get elected. Trudeau should be thinking of the Canadian people; but he will have to think of his own donors, and to be careful not to think of challenging the U.S. on anything. The president of Mexico is in a similar position. And he will be remembering all those Latin American leaders who got killed or deposed for disagreeing with the U.S.
The editor of the irving paper did a sloppy job on the headline for the lead story. The headline says most households will pay higher taxes as a result of a tax hike in NB. In fact,  the story says that a group which always opposed all tax hikes SAYS that most households will pay more.

But, if one reads the story further, it also says that the government claims there will be a $100 million dollars a year in rebates to lower and middle income families.

As a newspaper editor should know, many, perhaps most, readers do not read as much as a  half of any story. So it's important to make the meaning of the story clear in the headline and in the first paragraph. As it is, this isn't a story. This is propaganda.

Page A6 has a cutting edge story that graduates at Moncton High were urged by the speaker to be prudent. Sound advice. Yes, indeed. It reminds me of a song some readers might know:

Be prepared. That's the Boy  Scout marching song.
Be prepared as through life you go along.
Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well.
Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell......
And that's pretty much the news for section A.
Norbert Cunningham, bored of writing commentary, turns to standup comedy. (It still needs of bit of work.)

But the commentary page is solid stuff, two days in a row.

Louise Gilbert has an excellent column on urging seniors to get outdoors and into nature.  ( It really is a life-changer,)

There is a superb commentary on N.B.'s carbon emissions by a sustainability consultant. I'm surprised and pleased to see it in the irving press.

And Alec Bruce has the best commentary on education I have seen in the paper. This one is worth careful reading. It actually proposes important solutions rather than just ranting about bureaucrats and teachers.

The great weakness of the editorial and commentary pages remains. They live in a world that ends at the New Brunswick border. We get no analysis of what is going on in the rest of the world. Yet the rest of the world has more impact on us than, say, the opening of a new lingerie  store in Moncton. We need to understand that greater world and, to do that, we need intelligent analysis of what's happening in it.

But I guess the cost of that would interfere with irving profits. That's probably why we rarely see Gwynne Dyer or David Suzuki any more.
Canada&World has little on Canada and less on World. One of the big stories is that a company in Fredericton that I have never heard of has been sold at a profit. I tried, I really tried, to think of a way in which that will affect the rest of my life. But I couldn't think of one.

And there's another non- story about Dennis Oland and his trials and tribulations as a poor little rich boy convicted of beating his father to death.
Amnesty International has long condemned the behaviour of Mexico and its president on the issue of human rights. This story is an example of why that condemnation has happened. And that president is one of the three, jolly, ho-ho-ho amigos meeting in Ottawa. And jolly amigo Obama has followed the lead of Bush in mass killing and torture and illegal aggression. That's why I have contempt for this 'jolly amigos' crap.

This is a long one, but worth the read. It's about why some people still believe that the earth is flat - and, linked to that, why some people (like most people in North America) still believe that capitalism creates prosperty and is efficient - despite all the evidence to the contrary. And it goes on to include the way governments use variations on 'flat earth' thinking to convince people that they are good and foreigners are evil.

Here's a column by a writer who is probably against the British exit from EU, but who has taken the trouble to figure out why it happened. What he finds among the exit voters is a poverty that began in the days when Margaret Thatcher, the heroine of the far left, was prime minister.

There is some racism in the exit vote. But to call it racist is to distort and oversimplify it. Thather and her successors encouraged immigration because it could provide cheap labour for capitalists. Inevitably, that drove down all working class salaries. The real problem is not that the English hate immigrants on some racist grounds. The problem is that immigrants are being used, quite deliberately, to make the poor poorer.

Capitalism is driven by profits, and only by profits. Rather than creating prosperity, the history of capitalism is one of maintaining poverty to supply cheap labour. When unions were formed, capitalism hired gangsters to beat up and even to murder worker leaders. They still do it in much of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Nowadays, they can even get foreign armies and American special ops to do the dirty work. And they set up trade treaties that enable them to close down cities like Detroit, and move whole industries to poor countries that are easier to abuse.

Racism is probably a result, not a cause, The cause is further up the social ladder.


The U.S. has created millions of refugees its non-stop wars. It avoids the consequences of that by admitting very, very few refugees to the U.S. Can you imagine the reaction of American voters if the U.S. were to accept millions of those refugees it has created (or even just hundreds of thousands), then fire an equal number of Americans to replace them with cheaper refugee labour?

America's wars of aggression have consequences. So far, we're seeiing just the beginning of them. It's quite possible that the British vote is just the beginning of much greater consequences.   One could be a collapse of the EU as a fortress of the American empire. The exit vote  has everything to do with the power of international corporations and their abuse of that power.
And here's a further complication to bear in mind.


The Brexit issue is a long and very complicated story. The results of it are unpredictable. And no-one will ever get any sense of what it happening by reading simply the occasional news story in the likes of the irving press.
Understanding the news means finding a good sources for it. But that's not enough. We also need to live in a society that openly and freely discusses these things. New Brunswick is not that kind of society. This is a society that lives in fear - fear of the bosses, fear of being different......

And most of its news media reflect that.
So here's some interesting reading on a related topic. Closely related. The following continues a series I had run previously. It was sent to me by a friend, an excellent journalist I had worked with when the world was young.

I have much, much more. But I'll end the day with that last one so you can think about what that means to the future of New Brunswick - and the world - if we continue in our submissive behaviour.

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