The banner headline of the Moncton Times and Trnascript for today is that the mayor of neighbouring Dieppe will not seek re-election. Wow!
The advice of Eric Lewis on the op ed page is that this is the year Moncton, teetering on the edge of the greatest financial crisis the world has seen, has to go over its head into debt to build a BIG hockey rink. And, wow, maybe we can get Bruce Springsteen to do a show this summer.
Never mind that within 20 years, probably much less, Moncton will be close to unlivable because of transportation costs and other problems arising from its aprawl. This is a city desiigned for 1900, modified in 1970 for 1950, and now being planned for nothing at all but making money for hockey team owners and hotels. Riverview, a throwback to the '50s' will certainly be unlivable in the near future. But, in the face of the huge changes this city needs, Eric Lewis and and the Moncton Times will go on beating the drum for a new hockey rink.
What a rink would really do is to make a quick profit for somebody at a long loss for everybody else. But that is what has happened as short term greed has triumphed over pressing needs in our society.
So far, there has been nothing in the paper about the real world, and what's going to happen in the coming year..
1. Premier Alward will plunge ahead with shale gas development. He will continue to spread false information and false comfort.
Why be polite about it? Alward is going to screw you. It's decided. If he ever does introduce strict regulations, he won't enforce them. He will, though, strictly enforce the law against anyone who objects as Irving and friends destroy and impoverish the province.
So much for democracy and an informed public in New Brunswick.
2. Harper will make it a big year for the British connection in Canada with a royal visit, pictures of the queen all over the place, and a year-long celebration of the British-Canadian victory over the US in the War of 1812.
And, as we all watch the dog and pony shows paid for with our tax dollars, Harper will be dissolving Canada itself into an American colony. The process is already well begun with the Canadian armed forces remodelled and re-equipped to fight American wars, and with Canadian and American police and military authorized to work on either side of the border.
3. Americans will start disappearing as the Obama government expands it power to arrest and detain without trial or charge anybody it chooses to. Most of the North American media will applaud this as a defence against moslem terrorism. In fact, it has nothing to do with moslems or terrorism.
Almost half of the American population lives below the poverty line. Uncounted millions are homeless. Assistance money is being cut off so Obama can divert even more spending to weapons and wars. There is a rage mounting at the suffering of the poor and the increasing wealth and power of the rich. The American empire, the last of the great, western empires, is in a rapid collapse.
Obama may have no principles; but he is not a fool. The danger of serious uprisings, even revolution, and very soon, is obvious. The power to arrest and detain (forever, if necessary) is not aimed at moslem terrorists. It's aimed at discontented Americans. The basic requirement of freedom and democracy, the right to legal process, has been erased. The corporations that pay for Obama's campaign funds have what they have long wanted - a thoroughly fascist and police state.
That's not just calling Obama and the corporations names. Check a dictionary. Look up fascist. Look up police state.
Obama is also gearing up for more and bigger wars. NATO (the colonial armies of the American Empire) is already heavily involved in events in Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and, soon, Iraq again. He will also soon be looking at wars (both covert and open) in Latin America - as well as expanding through the Pacific to contain China.
These wars of a dying empire have been financial, military and political disasters for fifty years. But much of the western world, and especially the US, has been controlled for decades by a self-destructive perversion of capitalism. There are many definitions of capitalism. But none of them is based on the greed, short-sightendess, and contempt for humanity that we see in the very wealthy of the US and Canada. Read Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations some day. Rich people who live off government welfare were not what Goldwin Smith defined as capitalists. Not at all.
We live in a perversion of capitalism that has created its own crisis of poverty and war. The crisis is not something that might happen. It is happening. Right now.
Most of us will refuse to believe that. It's very human. We refuse to see what we do not want to see.
So it was that Germans applauded Hitler and Russians applauded Stalin and Chinese applauded Mao even as these leaders imprisoned or murdered them (without charge or trial - just like Obama is now authorized to do.)
The churches, being run by humans, also refuse to believe what they see. In Germany, they largely accomodated themselves to the Naziis. In the US, few said a word about the slaughters in Cambodia and Vietnam and Guatemala. In Canada, our chaplains told the press that our troops in Afghanistan were doing an important job - though what that job was and what has been accomplished remain unclear. Nor have we we heard a clerical voice raised about the morality of bombing civlians in Libya. (Maybe the Moncton Baptists figure those Libyan civilians were all gay.)
Whether or not we recognize it, though, doesn't matter. We are facing a brutal year. We cannot escape the effects of the economic damage that has been done by bandit business. We cannot escape the wars that our political and economic leaders have committed us to. Our chldren cannot escape the world we are allowing to be created.
2012 may well be the most decisive year in well over 1500 years.
But don't worry about the Irvings of this world. Money can always be moved around.
Just think about the important things. The mayor of Dieppe will not be running for re-election. And how about those hockey Wildcats, eh?
I didn't comment on Norbert's column because, as a piece of logic, I would have failed it in a high school class. Besides, it's not enough to talk about the incompetence and the propaganda of The Moncton TandT. There's a reality out there. Thanks to the perversion of capitalism that our business world has become, we live in a corrupt and decaying society. Saving it will be neither quick nor easy.
Or we can build a new hockey rink to watch the Wildcats. (As I write that, I think of the great emptiness I felt as I walked through Coliseum in Rome. I think of how, so many years earlier, it was packed for the daily sport of killing even as the barbarians broke through the walls of the city.)
Moncton, if you don't wake up in 2012 then, by the time 2013 rolls around, it won't matter.