Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Nov. 2: a dreadful day for news.

"Huge python that killed boys was growling, aggressive, court told". That's the headline for today's irving press. And, in the trade, it's what is called cheap sensationalism.  It has almost nothing to do with helping us to understand the world or the society we live in. It's in a class with "Dope-crazed preacher sexually attacks dead puppy".

Inside, there's a big story about three people getting an award from one of our many halls of fame for being rich.  (Last week there were two stories about the same people, same award.)

Nor do matters improve on the opinion page where the editorial rants about school reading levels. putting part of the blame on 'post-literate social media'. In fact, the worst distributers of ignorance and propaganda are not the social media. The worst are our commercial news media. The only intelligent sentence in the editorial is the last one. "Reading starts at home."

The commentary page features its standard column by a member of the provincial government telling us that the government is doing a great job.
World news? Forget it.

This is a newspaper deliberately designed to keep people in ignorance of what's happeninng at home and around the world. Its stories parade cheap sensationalism and worship of the wealthy. This, of course, doesn't make it fundamentally different from any  commercial news medium in North America.

It's just worse than most.
The Guardian has fallen a long way. I found little in it today. But I was struck by the propaganda tone of the item below. It accuses Russia of aggression and the killing of civilians in Syria. And it says we  could have stopped Russian aggression and cruelty if we had intervened in its war against Chechen. The message is clear. Russians are evil. We are good.

1. Wasn't it our side that began the wars of aggression and killing of civilians in the middle east?
2. Aren't we still killing them now?
3. Ever hear of Yemen? Is that Russians doing all that killing?
4. Isn't it our side that has been funding and supplying the terrorists of ISIS?
5. Isn't it our side that killed millions of civilians in Vietnam? that maintained murderous dictators in South America - and still does? that killed some 300,000 civilians in Guatemala? that overthrew the elected government of Haiti? That overthrew the elected government of Iran in order to please western oil barons? that then imposed a murderous dictatorship on Iran? (And that now says Iran is a threat to us?)
6. In Cambodia, U.S. bombers killed 750,000, mostly civilians, out of a population of less than six million. In Laos, it dropped two million tons of bombs, the highest per capita rate of bombing in history. Many of them were cluster bombs which often lie for years without exploding. They have made large parts of Laos uninhabitable as they continue to kill at a rate of about fifty a year. The delayed explosions of cluster bombs will go on killing thousands for decades to come in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. The killing of civilians happens daily in U.S. drone bombings all over the world.

But the western press ignores that. Instead, it reports on absurd statements by people like John Kerry which never mention killing by the U.S., but stir hatred with accusations against Russia. And it works. Americans are horrified by reports of Russian killing, but seem unaware of the phenomenal rate of U.S. killing. And that sort of ignorance is encouraged by opinion columns like the one below from The Guardian.
On the better side, here's an important story about what Canada (and most of the Americas) are doing wrong in not allowing native peoples the right to protect their land against pipelines, fracking, and aerial spraying.

While the city of Moncton has halls of fame for the wealthy, and preaches how the wealthy make us all rich, here's a look at the reality of what big money does to a society. Big money comes not to give - but to take. That's why an intelligent society puts controls on it.

And that's why the irving press does its best in trying to keep us in the dark.

Mining companies have a particularly vicious record all over the world.
And it's true. A picture IS worth a thousand words.
The message of the U.S. election is that the U.S. will be all downhill from now on. And these, the last moments at the top of the heap, are the most dangerous ones for the world.
The new, Canada Europe Trade Agreement hasn't received much attention in the Canadian press. It's significant that the only person to say much about it (and all of that untrue) is Brian Mulroney,  the most dishonest ex-premier Canada has had since the days of John A. Macdonald and Sir Charles Tupper.
For all the horror of the holocaust, the creation of the state of Israel was a bad idea that reflected bad reasoning.

For a start, the western powers, including Canada, who took Palestine away from its mixed Jewish and Arab population did not do it out of sympathy for European Jews. Quite the contrary. they created Israel to get rid of as many of their own Jews as possible - and to avoid taking in European Jewish refugees.

Secondly, in taking land (that was not theirs), and handing it over to another group it was creating a non-stop crisis.

And, an Israel which knows all that even if we don't has no great gratitute to us. And all of that has added to the non-stop crisis that we western Christians created.
The following is an essentially true but over-optimistic view of the state of American democracy.
Here's a story that has received little to no attention in the irving press. But it's a story that could well be coming this way. It's a story of disregard for law by governments, of abuse, of violence. It is,  in short, a story of what has become normal practice in the U.S., and is very likely to surface in Canada - and here in New Brunswick.

Big business will tolerate no control over its behaviour, and its control over politicians means the politicians do what big business tells them to do.
This sort of power and abuse has become common, even including  government-sponsored murder in some countries. And it's a situation that can only get worse.
I have long since given up following the American election race. The reality is that any country that could produce a Clinton and a Trump as the only candidates in a presidential race is a country on the edge of a social crash - and almost certainly an economic one, too. Despite all the capitalist hall of fame awards ballyhooed by our Chambers of Commerce, the reality is that unregulated capitalism does NOT create prosperity. All over the world, its record has been the creation of poverty, the use of force from shooting protesters to planning for nuclear wars, abuse of people, abuse of the Earth.
And - an American firm that provides mercenaries  (hired thugs) to fight wars for the U.S. was also involved in the attacks on native peoples at Standing Rock in North Dakota. This is worse than calling out the army to fight peaceful protesters. This is using heavily armed gangsters for the job. The U.S. has fallen a long way.
More bad news about The Guardian. I have been very disappointed by the quality of its coverage for some time, now.
Paul Craig Roberts is more than a little heavy on the adjectives and adverbs. But his message here is essentially sensible. Donald Trump will, of course, be killed if he gets elected but doesn't do what he's told. Those who control the U.S. have happily killed millions since world war 2, and many of them are pushing hard for a nuclear war. Popping off Trump is not something that would bother them much.
U.S. aggression in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Yemen have had the side-effect of destabilizing those countries and the whole region. As in much of these wars, the battle for Mosul is kikely to create more problems than it can possibly solve.
The quality of its presidential contestants is only one, minor indicator of the end of the American empire. Democracy has collapsed. Social order is collapsing. The state is becoming even more brutal and intrusive than in George Orwell's "1984".  The uncontrolled greed of the wealthy means, at a minimum, the spread of severe poverty and social rest in the U.S. and all the countries it controls.
And that's the good part. It is likely, quite likely, that the monied elite and the U.S. military will see the solution to this decline as being in a nuclear war. And it has to come soon because they know they don't have much time before the U.S. will be a much diminished power. We are watching the end of an era. Countries like Turkey, Iran and The Phillipines  have already recognized this by shifting their economic friendship to Russia and China. The old days of western dominance are fading fast.

Nor is it likely the American people can do anything useful to change what is happening. They are kept ignorant and lied to by their news media. That, combined with the themes of TV, movies, rampant patriotism that is largely mythical, a lack of knowledge of what alternatives exist - all of these make the American people incapable of understanding the options to be explored. They're all 'unAmerican'.

All of this will affect Canada - which is not so different from the U.S. as many people might think.

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