The Toronto Star wants to see a Right Christmas

Nazi Santa

Source: Toronto Star closes commenting on thestar.com | Toronto Star

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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We have passionate, opinionated readers who are eager to get involved in conversations about politics, education, municipal issues, sports and more…. Our objective is to highlight the most thoughtful, insightful and provocative comments from readers and to inspire discussion across other platforms and on thestar.com.
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The Star’s going to kill commenting because it sooo wants to hear from us. I don’t think the rightwing Star does want to hear from us, even though most of us are rightwing. The Star no doubt looks upon the fools who suck up it’s propaganda so as to become fine consumers who never think about important things or challenge neoliberal orthodoxy, with contempt. They are part of the rabble, the bewildered herd of which Walter Lippmann spoke. (The racist, vile commentary from many readers expressed in connection with articles reporting on the travails of Syrian refugees, for example, says it all. The neoliberal, fascist social-economic system that the Star is happily a part of helps produce a culture in which these sorts can flourish. It should be no surprise to the fake blue friend that they do.) Then there’s the readers, like myself, who hold a leftwing, anti-neoliberal position. Or anti-Nazi Israel position. As my previous blog post noted, The Star’s gatekeeper(s) aggressively expunged my comments expressing sympathy for Gazans, who get regularly slaughtered by the Israeli Defence Forces. (‘Defence’ sounds so much better, as American politicians will attest. They changed the name of their War Department to Defense Department in 1947, announcing to those who were paying attention, what was coming, as Chomsky notes.)

The New Cold War banner

To go by the Star’s actual behavior, visible and less visible, it’s idea of acceptable “provocative comments,” which it says it seeks from us, does not include those that are critical of free trade, Israel’s genocidal behavior, politicians who morally support that, NATO, militarism and fossil fuel dependence. I’m not the only one who notices the Star’s fake friend of the people character. Roger Annis, a genuine friend of the people, and champion of human rights and democracy, tried to get the Star to report truthfully, and fully, on the shenanigans in Ukraine, where the US installed a neo-Nazi regime, to no avail. He reports that in a blog post titled “Toronto Star newspaper is running with the extreme right in Ukraine.” An excerpt from that (January 30, 2015) article follows:

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One month ago, another Star writer, Tanya Talaga, published an article promoting another far-right cause — the “Patriot Defense” medical aid project for the battalions. That publishing effort was exposed by this writer in an article published on December 29. I decided to expose the matter after an email complaint that I sent to the writer and to the Star editors was ignored.

Indeed, I have sent a string of emails beginning last spring to Star editors complaining about their biased coverage of Ukraine. In August, I complained when the Star chose not to report that Ukraine Independence Day festivities in Toronto on August 23 featured a fundraising booth of the Ukrainian fascist party Right Sector. The group was raising funds for the purchase of military equipment…

The following month, The Star and its sister Toronto newspaper, the Globe and Mail, reported on a gala fundraiser for the war effort in Ukraine organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. That event was held on September 11. (Get it? An event supporting the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in eastern Ukraine on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York City?) It featured Prime Minister Stephen Harper, professional hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and many prominent politicians in Ontario.

The Right Sector was again featured prominently by the UCC at an event in Toronto on November 29, to commemorate a one-year anniversary of the EuroMaidan movement. Right Sector operative Valeriy Chobotar was brought all the way from Ukraine as the featured speaker. NDP Member of Parliament Peggy Nash shared the platform with him and praised the war being waged by the Kyiv government and the battalions…

Some well-known journalists in the world (though none from Canada) have distinguished themselves in exposing how Western media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post and The Guardian are playing with fire in eastern Europe by supporting Kyiv’s ruinous war in eastern Ukraine and slamming Russia with an economic embargo and provocative military threats. Robert Parry of Consortium News, Patrick Smith, John Pilger and the writers for Counterpunch come to mind. Many others are similarly engaged, albeit out of the limelight.

Patrick Smith has just penned a new blast against the New York Times in Salon. He writes on January 21, “I am awestruck as news of recent events unfolds. Ukraine is more than an economic, political and military mess: It is a major humanitarian tragedy… How can we possibly arm neo-Nazis in Ukraine while right-wing extremists and anti-immigration atavists rise all over Europe?”

Canada’s print media cartel as well as the country’s public broadcaster, the CBC, are firmly in the camp of Kyiv’s and NATO’s war in eastern Ukraine, serving as mouthpieces for a crazy and reckless policy of confrontation with Russia that threatens war and is tipping Europe into an economic slump.
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Roger wrote (Feb 20, 2015) another article dealing with the misbehavior of the Canadian print cartel, titled “Toronto Star promoting the extreme right in Ukraine.” Here’s an excerpt from that:

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The three conglomerates that dominate print media in Canada — Torstar, which publishes the Toronto Star, the country’s largest daily newspaper; Woodbridge, which publishes The Globe and Mail, the largest national daily; and Postmedia, which controls the daily newspapers of most cities in English Canada — speak on Ukraine as though they all attended the same indoctrination sessions. Viewed through their prism, Ukraine is topsy-turvy and bears little resemblance to reality. Human rights, moral standards and the concerns of the people of the east of the country are given no standing, no voice and no sympathy.

Among the three, the Star has distinguished itself in that three of its writers have used their column and article space to vaunt the fundraising projects of Ukraine’s extreme-right parties and militias and the Ukraine army. These are the forces which have been shelling towns and cities in eastern Ukraine and otherwise committing countless war crimes for the better part of the past year.
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Not only is the print cartel, and the compromised CBC (which is another fake friend of the people), completely at the service of uncle Sam in his destructive great game maneuvers (while all three major Canadian Party members publicly state their fealty to NATO – which they did in the first English language, all leaders’ debate sponsored by Maclean’s – which simply means the US), but here we see a Party member (no longer sitting, since Trudeau’s sweep in October), Peggy Nash, going to bat for the bad guys too. Fake friends abound. What’s interesting about Nash is the fact that she comes, as do a few others, like Ontario NDP leader (and fake friend) Andrea Horwath, out of the labour movement. That movement’s spokespersons (who I hear from mainly via The Progressive Economics Forum) do a lot of good, but there’s something wrong with it all the same. I can imagine their defence: “That’s democracy. Democracy doesn’t mean everyone thinks exactly alike.” Yes, But there’s a difference between arguing about how to make a living and looking at possible career choices that include violent bank robbery and bricklaying versus career choices that include, say, architecture and bricklaying. Isn’t there?

I have read some appalling commentary from one ‘progressive’ economist who contributes to The Progressive Economics Forum. If that isn’t bad enough, Rabble sees fit to carry his neoliberal musings on it’s website. Rabble, I fear, is disintegrating. Roger is a contributor to Rabble, as are other solid activists, like Yves Engler. But then you get contradictory messages, throughout assorted articles, by other contributors who would otherwise be labelled people’s champions judging from many statements and commentaries they make. Duncan Cameron (Rabble’s president) sounded the alarm on Trudeau’s intention to use Stephen Harper’s P3 Fund to do his highly touted (by Right and Left) infrastructure spending and then he went silent on the issue. During the election! How does one interpret that?, because, indeed, Canadians only had, as Yves Engler noted, neoliberal Parties to choose from in this election. (Duncan was also a big booster of Peggy Nash for the leadership of the Ontario NDP.)

For me personally, I am ‘never’ impressed by dishonesty or manipulation. When you tell me to “Look over there!” I will, probably, but not without looking more closely at ‘here’. Obama did a doozy ‘look over there’ with his decision on Keystone XL, for example. Worse than the fact that a multitude of pipelines (“a network of infrastructure projects that collectively “dwarf” KXL in their capacity” – Common Dreams staff) have been approved and laid, under Obama, while the debate over XL raged, is the way so much of the environmental and progressive community gushed with praise for the man. I’m not talking about reasonable, balanced expressions of gratitude that don’t sound like they come from people who worship the man. Unfortunately. But I’ve learned a lesson, since following Obama’s actions and inaction on the illegal immigrant file, about the way politicians work. If you give the people a ‘little’ bit, once they are in seriously dire straits, you then give them a lot to lose. They may then fall over themselves saying thank you and they may now so greatly fear that they could lose that little bit you gave them that they will never, never say anything bad about you afterward. That could be a useful thing to a corporatist politician.

The Real News on YouTube

“Corporate Media and a Depraved Indifference to Suffering”

The above link is to The Real News Network’s website and Paul Jay’s pitch to us for donations. TRNN is a worthy organization. I’ve found it to be an awesome source of information. And reader interaction – democracy – is allowed. In his pitch, Paul made some fantastic points, the main one being encapsulated in the title of the video: “Corporate Media and a Depraved Indifference to Suffering” Evidently. Abundantly evident. Readers are able to view Paul’s presentation and leave comments, which I took the liberty of doing. And my comment connected Paul’s statement to the Toronto Star’s recent decision to kill commenting on it’s website. I should point out that my comment, which I would have made regardless, was prompted as much by Paul’s statement as it was by another reader’s statement. That reader was complaining that TRNN doesn’t have a daily, current, news segment.

My online response to Paul’s and a readers’ statement follows:

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The daily show, a la Democracy Now, would take an incredible bump in resources, I’m sure. Maybe RNN will get to that level. Who knows? In the meantime, Here ‘we’ are, ‘on’ the information website calledTRNN, free to talk about anything pretty much (which you can’t do with DN), although the filters might be a wee bit tight. (I am not privy to those, but a recent comment I offered, attached to an interview that Jessica Desvarieux had with Nick Buxton, titled “Leaders Sidestep Pentagon’s Carbon Emissions At Cop 21,” didn’t show on the site. A message on the site, much appreciated, directs readers to enquire if they think a comment has been disappeared unfairly or accidentally, which avenue I pursued. Then it appeared, but I wasn’t told why it didn’t show up initially. That comment begins with “I found an article…”)

And gatekeepers can infect any org. Gatekeepers can be absolutely anyone, from a street person to a judge. Some gatekeepers are appointed. Those ones, who are usually paid, understand their function. Self-appointed gatekeepers may or may not understand their function and can fly under the radar and do things to undermine an organization that would otherwise be leftwing or pro people. Gate-keeping doesn’t involve solely grand actions. It can be the smallest thing, even something as small as giving you a dirty look. The idea is that you hinder, or annoy, those who, from your standpoint, have the ‘wrong’ political views. The wrong political views are, essentially, those that don’t involve supporting the powerful. Does TRNN have gate-keepers loose in it’s organization? If so, Does TRNN know? Keep it in mind.

Paul is so absolutely right about all that he puts down here. His timing is impeccable, from my standpoint. The Toronto Star just killed ‘all’ commenting on it’s website. (I long felt that the Toronto Star is a fake friend of the people, one or two great journos notwithstanding.) I wonder whether I had something to do with it? I noticed long ago that the Star disappears lots of my comments, but it was doing that in a sneaky way. I found out by chance when I clicked on the icon beside one of my comments and was shown (Thanks Star!) a list of all my comments, including those that had been disabled, which the Star labelled ‘Content disabled’. The interesting thing about it is that in the comments section attached to the article, you’d see your comments (unless one had been specially flagged and removed), including those that had been casually disappeared. But there’d be no visible indication that only you were seeing your disappeared comments and no one else was seeing them.

I had already created a category on my own blog titled “Disappeared.” A lot of this goes on online, and it’s annoying and so I got the idea to sort of track it (for myself only, obviously). That’s easy enough to do. I use a handy little free app called PicPick to quickly screen capture sections of a screen and started showing those comments on my own blog (tag ‘censored’). The most recent blog post I did showed how aggressively the Star’s gatekeeper (appointed or self-appointed but in tune with the organization’s rightwing orientation) had been expunging my comments expressing support and sympathy for Gazans. It was ridiculous, but, sadly, not unusual in fascist North America. I tried a little trick that I found sometimes worked for getting around the gatekeeper’s trouble-making. I would quickly copy & paste the ‘Content disabled’ comment and re-post it. I figured it was worth a shot. My theory is that perhaps the gatekeeper can be forced to work so hard that he or… just can’t keep up. Also, Perhaps a shift change loses the gatekeeper and sees a real person take his place. I even quickly threw one disappeared post up in the cloud (my service is Box), grabbed a short link for it and quietly snuck it into another comment without drawing a whole lot of attention to it. Was that eventually discovered and a cause of consternation? Did my comment alerting other readers to how they too can see whether or not the Star’s gatekeepers were disappearing tons of their comments also cause consternation among those overseeing the commenting section at the Star?

Very, very briefly, it looks like whoever oversees the commenting department didn’t know how to deal with comments, which I can’t help feeling I helped bring about, and so I saw something I had not seen before. Comments attached to at least one article showed the ‘Contents disabled’ message. They were visible! That didn’t last long. I’m guessing that the overseer felt that once the comments section were full of ‘Contents disabled’, there’d be alarm on the part of a lot of readers, as well as angry letters to the Star about it. I can’t be the only one the Star disdainfully swats away when truth is being spoken to it.

But where’s the fake friend of the people’s concern for regularly slaughtered, defenceless Gazans here? What was it Paul called it?: “a depraved indifference to suffering”
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Towards A New Cold War

While all of this was going down, I was also reading (and have now finished) Noam Chomsky’s “Towards A New Cold War – U.S. Foreign Policy From Vietnam To Reagan.” It’s all over the place, which is typical Chomsky. But it’s pure gold. I don’t know why he gave it this title. One could find some statements and ideas within (including within a chapter with the same title as the book) that suggest the idea of our moving toward a new cold war (from the standpoint of 1982), but that angle isn’t focussed on.

There’s some sections in the book that focus, laser-like, on the failure of the media. One of the main media failures that the book looks at has to do with the U.S.-backed Indonesian assault on East Timor in 1975 (after Indonesia’s probable inspiration of a coup in which the UDT, which lost elections, tried to erase the Fretilin victory). At least Portugal, who was the colonizer in the case of Timor, had some concern for it’s former colony and tried to have Indonesia’s slaughter there halted, to no avail. As usual, If uncle Sam wants it, then the whole world can want something different. It will make no difference. Which is why Israel gets away with disappearing the Palestinians. And here’s another area where the media, as my experience with the Toronto Star attests, fails. The situation with Indonesia, however, involved a greater possibility of Americans putting a stop to the slaughter, which they had a chance of doing by pressuring the government. But the corporate-owned media all but completely blacked out news on what was going on in East Timor. The people didn’t know and therefore couldn’t pressure their government. Whether the government would have responded, even had the media done it’s job (or what we’d like it’s job to be) and had the people known about Indonesia and pressured it’s government to care, There’s no guarantee that the government would have acted to stop backing Indonesia and supplying it with the weapons it used, even re-supplying it during the slaughter. (Increasingly, despite a media that is happy to ignore the suffering of victims of imperialism and psychopathic, fascist leaders, The world is seeing what Israel is up to. But it doesn’t faze the White House or those who follow it’s lead. Still, Chomsky’s points are good. If the people can care, should they choose to, then they need to know what to care about. Right Star?)

As much as we’d like it to be otherwise, the job of the corporate-owned media is to protect the 1% and it’s class. It will always act that way, deviations (individual journos who somehow get the truth out, or are tolerated as token ‘lefties’) notwithstanding. And the media is damn clever, as when it went after Nixon with a vengeance for his relatively small crime of hiring criminals to steal information from the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate office complex, while his far, far more serious crimes, involving slaughter in Indochina, got a complete pass. The media isn’t going to expose that. It’s not that it won’t report much of what goes on in the world (although it indeed leaves out a lot). Rather, How it reports on imperialist aggression is the point.

The media is the most important source of indoctrination of the people and it both indoctrinates minds and then feeds those minds information that will be massaged and received in accordance with the dictates of that indoctrination. (Interestingly, Hollywood is another important source of indoctrination and propaganda. Tricia Jenkins wrote “The CIA In Hollywood – How the Agency Shapes Film and Television” and Peter Maass, with First Look Media, reports on research that shows that Americans political views are more likely to be shaped by Hollywood than political ads! In “Manufacturing Consent,” Chomsky and Hermann note that: “The Pentagon, for example, has a public-information service that involves many thousands of employees, spending hundreds of millions of dollars every year and dwarfing not only the public-information resources of any dissenting individual or group but the aggregate of such groups.” -pg 19) Therefore, You get the perverse spectacle of people cheering the Indonesian coup of 1965, in which hundreds of thousands of mostly peasants, many who were Communists (since Communists were also in the Indonesian government), were slaughtered, noting that the resulting US investor-friendly Indonesia should wipe out all doubts from the minds of US planners about whether the decision to invade Vietnam was right. If you can remove Communism (which, in a democracy – a system that allows individuals to enjoy freedom of choice – involves a political a choice you can NEVER make), then the cost (to others) can never be too high. “Again, a “constructive bloodbath,”… Freedom House statements signed by many liberal American scholars expressed a similar assessment at the time, noting the “dramatic changes” in Indonesia in the aftermath of the 1965 coup and arguing that the “sharp reversal of Indonesia’s shift toward Communism” demonstrated that the United States was right to invade (or, from their perspective, to “defend”) South Vietnam, so as to provide a shield behind which these constructive developments could proceed.” (pgs 372 & 373 of “Towards A New Cold War”)

From pages “Towards A New Cold War” by Noam Chomsky, the following:

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Why should we devote attention to East Timor, a small and remote place that most Americans have never even heard of? There are two reasons, each more than sufficient. The first is that East Timor has been, and still is, the scene of enormous massacres and suffering. Many of the terrible things that happen in the world are out of our control. We may deplore them, but we cannot do very much about them. This case is quite different, hence far more important. What has happened and what lies ahead are very much under our control, so directly that the blood is on our hands…

The Invading Indonesian army was 90 percent supplied with U.S. arms…

Relief officials who were finally permitted limited access to the territory after almost four years described the prevailing situation as comparable to Cambodia in 1979. The world reaction has been somewhat different in the two cases.

The U.S. government continued throughout to provide military and diplomatic support that was required for the slaughter to continue [in Indonesia]…

[Ambassador Patrick] Moynihan was much admired for the great courage that he displayed in the United Nations in confronting the mighty Third World enemies of the United States. Somehow, his self-congratulation in this case escaped notice.

Ambassador Moynihan commented further that the Indonesia invasion must have been successful by March 1979, since “the subject disappeared from the press and from the United Nations after that time.” It did virtually disappear from the press, though not from the United Nations, which has regularly condemned Indonesian aggression. The curtain of silence drawn by the press in the United States and much of the West for four years hardly demonstrates the success of Indonesian arms, though it does stand as remarkable testimonial to the effectiveness of Western propaganda systems…

For four long and bloody years, the U.S. media, with very rare exceptions, kept close to the U.S. government propaganda line….

By late 1979, the truth was beginning to break through, even in the U.S. press, and a number of congressman, notably Tim Harkin of Iowa, had become aware of the true nature of what had been concealed by the media…

It is easy to poke fun at the Wall Street Journal [for trying to talk about East Timor by telling lies about Communists in Cambodia], but that would be to overlook the more significant point. The slight exposure of U.S.-backed Indonesian atrocities during the past several months has frightened the Indonesian military, the U.S. government, and the business circles represented by the Wall Street Journal, all of whom want to play their games with people’s lives in secret. The message is clear. By significantly extending the pressure on the U.S. government to abandon it’s appalling policies, and continuing to work to bring the facts to a larger public, one can contribute materially to the survival of the people of East Timor. It is rare that an opportunity arises in which a relatively small amount of effort may save hundreds of thousands of lives, and it would be criminal to allow it pass.
+==================

The 1% doesn’t do everything in secret. There’d be no glory in that. The glory for the abuser comes from his being seen by his victims as the one who deprived them of their means of survival.

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