Thursday, February 9, 2017

Feb. 9: Okay. I'm in a bad mood.

We're hearing a lot about fake news lately. I saw a fine example of it on page B 5 of my local paper, The Moncton Times and Transcript, for Feb. 8, "Amnesty: Up to 13,000 hanged in Syria's slaughterhouse". (nice touch of horror and Christian righteousness there. Did you notice any of that in the tone of reports on the millions murdered by the the last fifty years or so?) The report is from The Associated Press, and it's full of loaded language -  the UN was horrified by the report, it says. That's odd.  When an American officer ordered the murder of some 800 civilians in Vietnam, he got just one night in jail - and that only because of a reporter who told the truth.  The U.S. has killed, starved innocent people by the millions. It has tortured thousands.  It  has financed the terrorist side in the war against Syria.

The orders for American torture of thousands of Afghanis and others came straight from President Bush. The Syrian stories are, it seems, 'chilling accounts.' But when Americans torture and murder----nothing happens. When Canadians murdered prisoners in World War Two, and the National Film Board mentioned that in "The Valour and the Horror", The Legion demanded it be covered up - and the Canadian news media cooperated fully in doing that.

Just about all armies torture. Just about all deliberately kill civilians. It's been that way for thousands of years. And yes, that's true of even the good guys on our side.

Our private news media avoid the subject when our side does it. But, like the Moncton Times and Transcript, it reports the story with something close to hysteria when the other side does it.

Private news media have been dishonest from their first appearance in the late nineteenth century. That's because they are owned by the wealthy, and their purpose is to spread propaganda for the wealthy. That's why the irving press prefers to ignore climate change. That's why it publishes 'commentaries' from propaganda houses financed by the wealthy - like The Fraser Institute and the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. That's why it runs big stories about little, old ladies appearing in court for shoplifting chocolate bars - but never has a word about the taxes the wealthy don't pay.

I don't know what evil things Syria has been doing. (Though I do know that can't possibly become close to the murder and plundering this world this world has suffered to please the very wealthy. And I do know the only suffering the wealthy undergo is having to be honoured at dinners  hosted by fawning Chambers of Commerce.)

And what does all this have to do with fake news? The great purveyors of fake news in this world are the privately owned news media. And there are very, very few exceptions. They have published fake news since the British papers lied to make a hero out of Lord Baden Powell, one of the outstanding asses of British military history. At about the same time, William Randolph Hearst was lying in order to create a war with Spain.

Western news media jumped all over Mao for the brutalities of his rule in China. But where were they for the two decades that western puppet China Kai-Shek was doing even worse? And where were they for the more than a century when western powers were murdering, starving, exploiting the Chinese?

And our privately-owned news media lie every day. And today's story on Syria is almost certainly an example of that lying.

I don't know what Syria has been doing. But the report on Syrian torture and hanging makes little sense. There are, for a start, very few informants - and, for the most part, we know nothing about them. And that small number of informants gave us a reliable figure or 13,000 hangings? Please.

The number of victims is compared to a similar number in Aleppo, the city bombed by Russians. Interesting. But why not give us a figure for Syrians killed by American bombing. And why don't we get a figure for Syrians killed by ISIS and other groups financed, trained and supplied by the U.S.?

This is extremely sloppy reporting, deliberately so. And that makes it not just sloppy, but lying.

The writer below is certainly one who is opposed to American policies in general. But the questions he raises about this piece of reporting are well worth taking seriously.

This piece of fake news and its emotional note combined with a lack of evidence should be obvious even to a cub reporter. The appearance of this story in the  irving press tells us all there is to know about the quality of its editors.
Here, in New Brunswick, we get only two kinds of news from  the irving press - fake news and no news.
Today, the Moncton Times and Transcript set a new record of contempt for its readers. In all the news, there is not a single item from outside Canada. Apparently, nothing has happened in the whole world.
For several centuries, the British empire was adored (by the British) in the same way Americans adore the American empire. In reality, it was nothing but murderous, thieving and degrading - just like the American empire. And it exploited and degraded its own people - just like the American empire does.
Today, Britain has to settle for being a lap dog for the U.S. empire.


God bless America. God save the Queen.
I like counter currents. It has intelligent commentary. And it's honest.
Isn't the US/Mexico wall a terrible idea? Guess who was the first president to propose it. Guess which party cheered for his suggestion.  The reality is that Trump's policies pretty much follow those of the presidents before him. Yes. He is vicious and murderous and anti-democracy. But that has long been a tradition for American presidents.
Wouldn't it be nice if our children could go to  a school with no ceiling - and with the occasional bullet coming through a window? That's a reality for Palestinian children. And guess who supplies Israel with the bombs and the bullets.
It has rarely been mentioned in the irving press, but the building of oil pipelines could be THE issue of the year. Trump is determined to go ahead with them. So is the government of Canada - though it never actually says so. And the government of New Brunswick is, of course, clapping hands for more fossil fuels. And our newspapers owned and/or strongly influenced by oil billionaires either ignore the issue or say it's perfectly safe with adequate regulations. Right. Just like nuclear war is safe with adequate regulations.

(The local, private news media also immediately slobbered with joy at the story that our hospital food services will be turned over to a private company. And they have the nerve to say it will be cheaper. In fairness, that might not be nerve. It might be just stupidity.)
Thought it has scarcely made news in North America, Israel has completed a massive and illegal theft of Palestinian land. It can do that thanks to the money and weapons supplied by the U.S. 600,000 Israelis now occupy what were Palestinian lands and homes. No big deal in our private news media. But can you imagine the furor if Muslims were to steal Isreali land, to expel the Isrealis who lived therre, and to demolish there homes?
The news is full of stories critical of Trump. What they miss is that the U.S political system has been rotten to the core almost from the start. Trump is not very different from Obama who was not very different from Bush who was not very different from Clinton.

Politically, Americans don't really have a choice. Each part is as bad as the other. And the American public has been so propagandized and so saturated with patriotic myths over the years that it has no sense of any alternative.
The reality is that all American presidents have kissed up to the corporations. All have denied their people adequate services. And American bombing of civilian targets is no different from Hitler's holocaust of Jews. In fact, all mass killings are justified by racism and misguided patriotism. And don't kid yourself that Obama was any different.

Who is it that pays the bills for elections candidates who wil do what they are told to do?
Who is it that is getting richer while everybody else is getting poorer?
Who is it that is the major force blocking action on climate change?
Who is it that demands wars on Vietnam, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and, probably, on Iran?
Who is it that dodges taxes?
Who is it that muscles in on health care in Canada and the U.S., and on education and prisons and just about everything else in the U.S.?
And who is it that owns news media that lie to us about what is going on at home and around the world?
It's that tiny proportion of people who are very, very wealthy - at our expense and, often, at the cost of millions of lives.

The conflict is not really between the right and the left. (How could it be when the New Brunswick NDP , supposedly left, could choose a Dominic Cardy as leader - a man who never met a billionaire he didn't like.
There are many (most) parts of the world where Canadian mining companies are hated for their destructive methods and their contempt for native labour. I have known more than a few Canadian mining engineers who rose to senior positions in such countries. They all soaked up the corporate attitude of contempt for the workers. (They even had a song book of 'folk songs' full of contempt for the mine workers.)

It's an attitude they share with American and British and other mining bosses.
The following item is for Canadians. Watch for political instability here. I don't think the Trudeau Liberals will win re-election. (Nor should they.) But the choice will be between just the Trump-like Conservatives, and an NDP which seems to have abandoned almost all the principles it was founded on.

And, like the U.S., it is quite possible that Canadians will choose to vote for the devil.
Our local newspaper didn't have the story that Trump denounced Iran as the leading terrorist state. I'm a bit suprised. It usually publishes all the fake news that it can get. The following item suggests that Saudi Arabia is the leading terrorist state.  I doubt that, too. The U.S. is the one that has been financing Muslim terrorist groups for the last thirty years at least. It's now the leading financial supporter of such groups in Syria.

The source of this is Russia Today. Take a look at a full copy. I don't see propaganda in there. In fact, it has far, far more news than my local, irving press does. And it's more intelligent.
Duriing my working years, my social circle was almost entirely Jewish. And what impressed my most about that social circle was their commitment to studying and discussing the news. They made it a point to be well-informed and, usually, with a strong sense of social responsibility. That's why I was interested to see this item about how American Jews are reacting to Israel.

And that's why I see Netanyahu as a betrayer of the principles of Judaism.
Sorry. It's been a long and perhaps windy blog today. I was put in a bad mood by today's headline in the irving press. "Up to 20 Catholic churches to close in N.B."
First, it's a bad headline because that's not the story. The story is that churches MIGHT close.

Secondly, who could possibly care how many Christian churches close? For centuries, the western nations have been abusing people all over the world and, even at home, the wealthy have been abusing everybody else.  And Christians have just stood around with their faces hanging out. The Christian world has killed millions, created tens of millions of refugees, spat hatred at other religions, and has been concerned only with making money for the already rich. And Christians have God-blessed that every step of the way.

A few church leaders, like the pope, have been magnificent exeptions to that. But they remain the only exceptions.


  1. Not you as well. Major difference between fake news and just bad journalism with a lot of inaccuracies etc. Fake news refers to a specific phenomenon born on the Internet, stories willfully made up with the intention on going viral. By going viral,

  2. Don't split hairs. I know how the term fake news is used. My point is that social media are now doing exactly what the commercial news media have been doing for well over a hundred years. You can't just pin different labels on them, and pretend that one is different from or worse than the other.