Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jan. 22: well....well....welll....

It's kind of hard to write about a Moncton Times and Transcript which has a big story on the front page that it's cold out. And that's pretty much it for Section A.

The next big story has to wait until Section C -  that Obama took the oath for his second term. The oratorical style was pure Martin Luther King. "Our journey is not complete until...", "Our journey is not complete until...."  But there's a difference, King meant it.

He will make Americans all equal under the law? Well, first he'll have to fit them all in under the law. Under Obama, the president can decide that some people can be arrested without charge, and imprisoned without trial. Some can be tortured in military prisons on American soil and tried in military cours, as Private Brandley Manning was. 

He will ensure that women can earn a living equal to their efforts? Big deal that will be. Under Obama, American poverty has risen among both men and women. Even as employment begins to improve slightly, most of the  new jobs are poverty level - for men and women. And, also under Obama, the incomes of the very rich have increased 750%. I think the women at Walmart might have to hustle to catch up.

He, perhaps tactfully (it was Martin Luther King Day), did not mention equality for African-Americans and hispanics with their extraordinarily high rates of unemployment and with the desperate underfunding of their schools due to the privatization of so much of education by George Bush.

The Business Page has (surprisingly) an interesting article on the tremendous cost to small business of government red tape, since small business cannot afford the specialized help that costs. It's a good point. And the government is reacting. Ottawa is reducing red tape for companies that earn from $10 a year (sounds reasonable)----to $200 million a year ). You know. Just your typical mom and pop store.

An environmental group, The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, is asking for protection for the Bay of Fundy which is threatened by industrial growth (and garbage). Special alert to CSIS and RCMP, immediately assign agents to members of The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Get photos; check internet traffic; interview neighbours; prepare full reports to be presented to all industrial polluters in Bay of Fundy region.

This is a Red Alert, code 'shitdisturbers'.

That's the news. It's cold out. Obama said nothing in particular. And environmentalists are the enemies of all patriotic Canadians.
Norbert is the class act on the editorial page. Again, he's back to his multiple topics style. But this time it works. There's nothing earth-shaking here; but it's well-written and it's interesting.

And Bill Belliveau does well with a letter to the editor. It's a well-written and careful reponse to an earlier letter that criticized his column on Idle No More. I still don't agree with him about his opinions. But his response to the letter writer in delightfully polite, and well done. A class act.

Given the paucity of news or comment about anything of importance in today's edition, I shall go back to yesterday's for a story that caught my attention - but didn't have room for. It's "Thousands rally against stricter gun control laws".It's an American story, of course, and some of the quotations in it  caught my attention.

One was that gun control was part of the liberal agenda. What the hell does that mean? What does the speaker think liberal means? Doesn't he know that the American Revolution was a liberal one? or that the American constitution, including the second amendment, was a product of liberal thinking of the time?

Across Canada and the US, it is alarming to see people shouting words they don't understand, using them simply as name-calling. There is no serious discussion of serious issues, just this brainless name-calling.

Obama is a liberal? Sure. That's why corporate profits have risen by 170 percent in his presidency, and along with Bush's days, incomes of top exectives have risen 750%. Get real.

Another village idiot dressed himself in a revolutionay uniform, carrying a sign "Tyrants Beware - 1776".

a) As an elected president who also needs congresstional approval, Obama can scarcely be called a tyrant.  This is just more brainless name-calling.
b) The idea that Americans lived under a British tyranny is equally nonsense - but more on that later.

Another demonstrator said, "...this country had some very wise founding fathers and they knew they were being oppressed when they were a British colony. Had they not had their firearms....to stand up against the British, we'd still be a British colony."

Historically, this is pure rubbish. The British had gone to great expense keeping troops in the colonies to protect them against French armies and (let's be honest) terrorists in what is now Quebec. After New France was captured, Britain wanted the English colonies to play part of the cost of their own defence. Just part of it.

But with the defeat of France, the colonists - especially the wealthy ones - didn't need Britain any more. And George Washington, the biggest slave owner in the colonies, was also probably the wealthiest man. In fact, the wealthy were quite prominent among the founders. (Incidentally, as commander of the colonial militia - a commander by order of the king - Washington had earlier used troops to put down a tax rebellion. Obviously, his opinion of taxes depended on who was being asked to pay them.)

Equality? The new US was no more equal than Britain was. The American wealthy became the new aristocracy though, while the British aristocracy has faded, the American one is more powerful than ever. Women were not equal, not by a long shot. Blacks were slaves. In some states, the right to vote was limited according to income level.

And one reason Washington and the boys wanted to separate from Britain had nothing to do with equality. It had to do with invading the interior, killing off native peoples, and stealing their land. Many of the wealthy in the early US were major land speculators. The British government, though admittedly not for any humane reasons, was opposed to that.

To say that all Americans are equal in any sense is absurd in a society in which rich and poor are so widely separated, and in which the rich have so much power in politics and controlling the news.

Freedom? Americans were freer before the revolution than they are now. Before the revolution, not even the king could imprison a citizen without charge or trial. And he certainly could not order the execution of a citizen. American presidents now have those powers.

Without the revolution, the US would still be a colony? Is Canada a colony? I bet some of those clowns think it is.

Where do people learn this silliness? In the schools. The US, like Canada, is full of people who think patriotism means believing all sorts of silly myths about their countries. In the US, the invasion of Canada in 1812 (you remember that one. They Canadian government just spent 30 million dollars celebrating the day we got invaded - something like celebrating Hitler's invasion of Poland.)

In the US, the war is usually taught as a war of self-defence. Yep. In order to defend itself, a nation 10 times our size had to invade Quebec and Ontario. And I'm sure it had nothing to do with conquest and land speculation.

Why do the schools (and movies and TV) teach it this way? Because if they didn't, they's be blockaded by thousands of half-wits from the NRA calling the teachers liberals or communists or terrorists or whatever word they don't understand that might be in style at the time.

In Canada, schools take the easy way out. For the most part, they don't bother to teach any Canadian history. I mean, if you teach the truth, you'll get flak from parents. Better to skip it. Instead, make the children patriots by forcing them to listen to O Canada every morning, the theory being that if you make their minds numb enough, that's just as good as being patriotic.

The truth, the frightening truth, is that Canada and the US are full of people who think in slogans and myths and buzzwords. And an even worse truth is that this is encouraged by most of the news media.

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