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Brian Keelan's picture

Something to think about

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 09:22 -- Brian Keelan

Like many people I talk to these days, I am giving serious thought to getting rid of my cable service. I would not replace it with satellite services either since that is like quitting smoking by switching to the e-cigarette.

The satellite and cable guys are making far too much money for a product that is continually being watered down.  They seem to operate on a marketing philosophy where they give you one or two stations you want along with fifteen stations you’ll never watch. Once they determine what we are watching, they mix the packages up so that we have to buy more programming packages just to get the same programs we had before.

I think they should offer a Top 10 basic package where we get to pick the ten we want. Then there’s a top 20 package etc. They could even say that you have to have five Canadian stations (including sports) before you could add a US station. But that will never happen.

Why?

Because it’s what we want and not what they want.

But at least now there is an alternative. The internet… mainly YouTube, Netflix and Apple TV. There are other services like Bloomberg that I use as well. These days I mainly use Cogeco cable to watch the news—CBC and Channel 7 out of Detroit (which has the best weather report) and HBO—which forces me to buy the other 5 TMN channels that I never watch since there is better stuff on NetFlix. So most of the time these days I watch what comes down my Apple TV/internet pipeline.

One of the things I like about the internet is that information flows sideways instead of from the top to the bottom. That’s always good for the truth. The establishment hates that. They can’t control it… yet.

The one drawback is the fact that even if I do cut my cable TV cord, I still have to keep my cable-delivered hi-speed internet cable hooked up and paid for in order to use the internet streaming services that I will use instead of cable or satellite.

What also bothers me about mainstream TV is that we are fed programming from the power-brokers who own mainstream TV as well as the people who use mainstream TV to promote, publicize and advertise their products or programs. Think of it as indoctrination into a way of thinking that they want us to adopt… a way they need us to think in order to keep the money coming their way. Do you really think, “You’re richer than you think?”

Why do I feel this way?

Well, the other night I watched a program on NetFlix called, Requiem For The American Dream. It’s a documentary-type film that covers interviews with Noam Chomsky over a four year period. The Globe and Mail and Rotten Tomatoes and every other review I have seen think that this is a very well-done documentary.

I think that’s for two reasons:

  1. It is thought-provoking… very thought provoking and
  2. Nobody on this planet is smart enough to challenge Chomsky’s opinions which are based on keen, logical observations backed up by intelligence… a lot of intelligence.

Over the years I’ve heard of Mr. Chomsky, but in the mad rush to live my personal life I did not give much thought to the kind of things he writes and talks about. I think that it could also be because he wasn’t on mainstream TV unless he was being criticized by the media for not agreeing with them and their handlers.

Chomsky is listed in Wikipedia as, “an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, logician, social critic, and political activist.” I think all those words are just a way of telling us that he’s a really smart guy. So smart that if anyone tried to criticize him it would seem to me to be like trying to argue nuclear physics theories with Einstein… you not only lose the argument, you feel really stupid just talking to him. To hitchhike on an old Dennis Miller line… he’d be Sheriff Andy and I’d be Barney Fife.

I first heard about Chomsky back in the days of the Vietnam War. I actually read about him in Playboy in one of the rare instances when I tore my eyes away from the excellent photography and actually read one of the articles. He was very much against the Vietnam War and—as it turns out—he was right. I lost a very good friend in that war and I still feel that his death was in vain… a total waste of a good man… all done while George W. did his service in the National Guard and didn’t even show up most of the time so the story goes.

So there I am watching this show on Netflix and listening to these brilliant things that Chomsky has to say and thinking to myself, “You know, I never really thought about it like that, but he’s right.”

He starts off by telling of his family during the Great Depression. How back then, people were going through very tough times but there was a sense of optimism: everybody felt that things were going to get better. Now he says that today with the economic conditions, all the terrorism and crazy things that are happening, that sense of optimism is gone: nobody believes that things are going to get better. Okay, maybe Donald Trump, does but folks—and you may find this hard to believe—Donald Trump is no Noam Chomsky.

According to the Globe and Mail: “The essence of the film is that Chomsky gives a very rationed and reasoned explanation for how the concentration of wealth in the USA corrupts the balance of power, delegitimizing the nature of US democracy and souring the whole mythic dream of American life.”

Wealth buys power in government. This wealth-generated power controls rules of corporate governance and de-regulates the banking laws that are designed to make this “democracy” work for everybody. This power is used to generate laws that are favourable to the wealthy: laws that reduce their taxes and place the burden of financial support for the economy not only on regular folks but on their children through debt. This wealth-generated power also uses it vast resources (money) to generate propaganda through the use, manipulation and ownership of the media.

A famous Chomsky quote says that, “Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the US media.”

Chomsky lists ten principals of the concentration of wealth and power, and as I watched and listened they showed clearly that is exactly what has happened. True… he is talking about the US but I don’t believe it is much different here in Canada.

I am not saying that Chomsky is totally right about everything. He leaves a few things out like technology driven financial advances that come from the grass roots; Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and all those types. But in terms of the majority of wealth generation I think he is right. Even the new tech wizards get sucked up into the vortex of mainstream corporate America when they go public and join the ranks of the super-rich.

I think it is a mistake for us to believe everything we hear. One of the big problems I see today is the death of truth. We used to tell the truth because it was, “a sin to tell a lie.” That was back in the days when a sin was a big deal. You could go to hell for doing it. Now it seems that nobody believes in hell anymore.

I remember a movie called The Shooter where a corrupt politician boasts, “The truth is what I say it is.”

Do yourself a favour. Watch the movie Requiem for The American Dream.

Figure out what the truth is for yourself. You deserve to know.

That’s just my opinion. I could be wrong. But even if I am, I’m still going to cancel my cable.

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