Monday, August 27, 2012
August 27: Section A. D.O.A.
First, happy birthday to me. It's so wonderful to be 25. again.
In celebration, I'm off to the shore from Monday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon - and don't know whether I'll be able to get on the web from there.
Section A of today's Moncton Times and Tribune has nothing to say. If all you want is pictures of Bruce Springsteen, you can get more and better for free on google.
And there's yet another page of overweight people on motorcycles.Many of them, I notice, wear helmets styled on those of Nazi soldiers in World War Two. Does this indicate some message they are trying to give? If so, do we really want that message in our daily newspaper?
One of the lead stories is about a former MLA who's now busy making things and going on trips, etc. Who bloody cares? Where are the stories on things that matter? - the safety problem that has shown up with our proposed super oil pipeline? the many incidents of shale gas pollution? The probing stories on the strange move of Moncton High, and the pollution under Highfield Square?
And how could they miss a kind of important story that dominated many newspapers today - including The Guardian? Due to population growth, climate change, and pollution, the world is running out of fresh water.
No. I don't mean in a hundred years. I mean now. As population grows and climate changes, we need more and more fresh water - that we don't have. We particularly need it to raise meat. Animals require far more water than vegetables do. That means we have to cut meat production so drastically that most people will have to become vegetarians.
And that process has to be complete by the year 2040, or millions (at least) will starve to death. And to complete by the year 2040 means we have to get started - yesterday.
We are into a period of one hell of a scramble for the world's resources. Millions have already died. And what plans have our governments made? (Yawn.) Well, they're planning to poison what fresh water we have by fracking. There are probably also plans we aren't hearting about yet - to privatize fresh water so that corporations can make profits out of selling what we have left.
Sounds like a stretch? It's been happening for years as the World Bank will lend money for water supply in poor countries - but only if those countries will assign all the water to private ownership - which then charges scandalous rates for water supply. As a result, there are people who now pay more for water than for food. Nor can they gather rainwater, because even that belongs to the corporation.
Any deep thoughts on the future of water and agriculture and diet in New Brunswick, Mr. Alward? Anything in Fredericton or Moncton on the massive transit problems that face the province and the city? Or are we still giving top priority to a hockey rink?
NewsToday has a big story of how government troops in Syria massacred 300 people. I don't doubt it. There's not much nice about the Syrian government.
But how come Reuters never seems to have a story about massacres by rebels? Not even when they're aimed at Christians?
And who are the good guys in all this? The ones who have been denouncing the Syrian government for this brutaltiy? Well, that's France, Britain, the US - all of them with massacre records that make Syria look like a summer at Girl Guide camp.
Then there's a gem of a story about the NDP being forced to repay $340,000 in donations from unions. We will skip lightly over the fact that Harper has still not dealt with the robocalls scandal - or even with the thievery of Brian Mulroney. But he's very quick to get all indignant when it's another party.
For loaded and emotional language, read in particular the official government statement in paragraphs three and four. "The NDP went cap in hand to its big union boss friends ...." How's that for neutral language in an official and non-political statement?
It also claims that "our government" took the big money out of politics by banning corporate and union donations. Now, that's not lying. But it sure isn't telling the truth. If it were true, the Conservatives would not today have far the biggest campaign fund of any party.
It goes on to tell how the innocent and honest conservative party built a "grassroots network of individuals making small donations." Oh? Could we have a list of those grassroots individuals? All those widows and orpants? And could we be given the total of campaign funds that are held by each party in Canada?
The reality is that Conservatives and Liberals across Canada have traditionally been the parties to get big money, mostly from the very wealthy - and both parties have traditionally been run by the wealthy. That's as true in Quebec and Ontario and Alberta as it is in New Brunswick. (And I might add that I'm not crazy about what I've seen of the NDP in Nova Scotia,)
As for the editorial and op ed - good cartoon by de Adder. Alec Bruce's column is one of the best I've seen. Save the rest of those pages for a really, really slow day.
I'll finish with a point that I think it's useful to remember. I've been accused of being anti-American, anti-Canadian, anti-British, anti-semite. As Chairman of the English rights group in Quebec, I was accused of being anti-French, and anti-English. To call someone anti-----any group is the last and often the only argument of the moron.
But we are daily encouraged by most of our news media to anti-Moslem, anti-Liberal, anti-Conservative, anti-Green, anti-NDP, anti-Russia...... And it's all silly.
To be anti any group of people is usually a sign of ignorance because most people of any group don't have the power we attribute to them.
The news media of my youth encouraged me to be anti-Russia and anti-China. They were, I was daily told, evil. I finally got to China, very shortly after the death of Mao, and found the people delightful. (Now, they're almost officially delightful because our corporations are making money out of them.)
The people of China were never evil. They weren't - and still aren't - making the decisions. Why blame them? I would certainly criticize the government of China for its behaviour. But the people of China have no control over that.
France slaughtered the people of Algeria and Vietnam. But that's scarcely makes the people of France evil. All they knew was the sort of biased news we get. And the decisions weren't made by them. They were made by the business and political leadership of the country.
We all know Americans. We know they're people so much like us that we couldn't be anti-American without being anti-ourselves. It's not the US which is inflicting so much suffering on the world. It's a relatively small group of people, notably business and political leaders and assorted crackpots who control the supply of information and can effectively propagandize most of the nation.
Canada bombed Libya. I think that was dead wrong. But I don't get all-Canadian and blame Canada for it. The blame goes, largely, on Harper. Things are done by people - not by abstractions like nations or religions.
So do some Moslems kill Christians? That's not much of a reason to be anti-Moslem, especially when so many Christians are busy killing Moslems.
Anybody who is anti any great mass of people based on religion or nationality is a damn fool. The damage is done by the individuals who control and power. Blame real people, not imaginary stereotypes.
I don't blame Israel for its behaviour. I blame its leadership - like Netanyahu. (Most of my Jewish friends do the same.)
Blame individuals. Blame lying and propagandizing media. Blame corporate bosses who operate with no moral standards whatever. But beware of being anti any nationality or religion.