An opening reminder - There will probably be no blog on Tuesday, Nov. 27 because I shall be attending the big, anti-fracking rally in Fredericton that day - and speaking a few words at it.
We meet at the Old Burial Ground in Fredericton at 11 a.m., then walk to the legislature at 12 for its opening session. I'm looking forward to it, and also looking forward to seeing any of you who are able to go.
I've come across another news and opinion source that is worth taking a look at. It's called rabble.ca. I came across it when I recognized the name of one of its writers, Karl Nerenberg. I worked with Karl at CBC, where I knew him to be a first rate newsman. He followed that up to become a parliamentary reporter for CBC. If you want to know what is going on in Ottawa, Karl is one of the best, probably the best.
I haven't yet read the others on the site; but I would expect some good ones if Karl is there.
The story by Karl that I read is, to say the least, a worrying one. Parliaments has a budget officer who does an independent survey of all government spending so the voters and parliament can have a clear idea of what the budget situation is. For him to fill his mandate, one set for him by parliament, he must must have full budget information from all government departments. But he isn't getting it.
The various departments have refused to submit something like 90% of the information he needs - and is entitled to by law. The departments are ignoring him. Well, we all know how Ottawa works these days. No department does anything without Harper's approval - right down to the details. So we can be quite sure that Harper told them not to submit that information. There are two, worrying points about this.
1. It shows, once again, that Harper has contempt for democracy, for the people of Canada, for the parliament they elected, and for the law.
2. Then there's another, even more worrying point. Canadians like to think that our economy, even in these troubled times, is pretty solid. But the budget officer has doubts about that. Based on figures that are available, he thinks Canada's economy and its debt are NOT sustainable.
Check out Nerenberg on this. He knows his stuff. And the stuff that he knows is pretty sobering.
As a general thought on this Sunday, next time you read your paper, especially foreign news, notice how much of it is written to make you fear and hate. That's no accident.
As a child, I learned to fear and hate Germans and Japanese. They were evil and cruel, so evil and cruel that the news often used specials words so they weren't really human any more. They were Krauts, Huns and Nips. (That puzzled me a bit because my best friend in school was a Japanese boy who family had been interned for several years by the Canadian government, and their home and everything they owned had been confiscated. And he was a nice guy. And I never heard him say "ah, so..." in that evil way Japanese said it in movies). Then, suddenly, those words disappeared from the newspapers. And those people who had been evil were now good.
The new evil ones were Russians. But they didn't last. Once the Soviet Union collapsed, we didn't have to hate and fear Russians any more. Now, we had to learn to hate and fear Moslems. So we invented a nickname for them, ragtops. That's so that when you're killing them, you don't have to feel bad about it. They aren't people. They're ragtops (or militants or terrorists or extremists),anything that dehumanizes them.
I have even seen editorials explaining that what makes them evil is their religion. It's a religion that encourages them to kill, to bomb, to terrorize - things that Christians would never do.
We have to be learned to be scared and to hate. We have to be because once we are terrified and filled with raging hate, our governments can do anything they like. They can kill over a million Iraqis, including those hundred thousand or more of evil, terrorist, militant, extremist babies. They can run up massive deficits with unspeakably corrupt contracts to the defence industry.In fact, they can do anything they like to anybody - including us.
Because of fear and hatred, Bush could get away with torture. Obama can get away with ordering imprisonment or assassination of foreigners or Americans with no charge or trial, and he can use drones to kill thousands of people, most of them innocent, in countries he isn't at war with.
Even the Christian churches join the jubilee. Not long ago, a Moncton church sported a sign that read, "Pray for our soldiers in Afghanistan". Damn right. God's on our side. Kill all them damn foreigners.
And the hysteria is so great, that the people of that church could still read "love thy neighbour" - and believe they did.
And the nice thing is that fear doesn't wear out. The US is now the most powerful country not only in the world, but in history. It has hundreds of bases all around the word, all around Russia and China and the Middle East. It has the CIA assassination squads in Latin America and Africa. It has the most intensive domestic espionage system in history. It has invaded and killed uncounted millions in Asia, Central America, Africa, the Middle East. It is far the most impossible country in the world to invade, and so has never been invaded, not in centuries. And it's still scared.
So scared it allows its government to keep secret lists of "suspicious" Americans, millions of them, to spy on private lives of any people they choose to, to tap phones, intercept e mail, imprison people without charge...
And it's mostly done, quite easily, by slanting the news so that a Moslem who kills is a terrorist or extremist or militant. But an American soldier who goes out into the night to kill several dozen Afghanis, almost all women, elderly and children, then burns their bodies, was suffering stress, poor soul. And the press hasn't even bothered to follow his long, delayed and very slow trial.
There have been quite a few incidents like that. Nobody has ever been given serious jail time for it. Lt. Calley, who killed some 800 civilians, including children and babies, and was charged and convicted for over a hundred of them, spent one night in jail.
It's official policy. You have to learn to hate. You have to learn to be scared. Maybe this year they'll have Christmas cards for it.