This flu is a real gem. Like an unwanted guest, it never seems quite ready to leave.
Huge gaffe by our federal minister of International Cooperation, a famous unknown called Fantino. He told a newspaper that all Canadian foreign aid projects to Haiti have been frozen. And this was the first news the government of Haiti and the various aid groups ever heard of it. Very smooth, Mr. Fantino. He says it's not efficient enough.
Well, Mr. Fantino has been in his post for six months. One might think he's had the time to put changes in place so he doesn't have to leave those people in misery. Oh, but he did utter a kindly thought, "Are we going to take care of their problems forever? They need to take care of themselves."
What a nice man.
Haiti is poor because our side has quite deliberately kept it poor for almost 200 years. Our side has imposed one dictator after another so that wealthy North Americans and Europeans could take over their land, bleed them dry as farm workers and as factory workers at a few dollars a day with virtually no education or medical care.
When Aristide provided the first, extended democratic leadership in that country, there was a staged invasion by thugs from the old dictatorship, then a staged 'peacekeeping mission' led by the US which allowed the thugs to stay but forced the the elected president into exile. Canada played its usual comic role in that. There is, of course, a new, elected president - but he's an American puppet voted in by less that ten percent of the electorate.
Fantino says Haiti aid money is wasted on corruption. Damn right. Most of it the corruption of us and our friends. Virtually all of the American aid has vanished into corrupt contracts with American contractors. The money has been spent. But Haitians still live in tents. Haiti is an outstanding example of the moral rot of North America.
But don't be distressed by it. Just read your Moncton Times and Transcript. They don't mention any of this.
The Idle No More movement made page one again - if in small print and lower on the page. (The big story of the day is that children are playing in the snow. There's also a whole page of pictures on A4 for people who have never seen snow before.) The Idle No More story tells us nothing more than the little we knew before - but it does add a strange note.
This report says the rail blockade at Adamsville ended because of a court order. In Saturday's report of the same incident, there was no mention of a court order. We were left with a sense of the blockaders just drifting off for no reason at all. Are those reporters products of the UNB Journalism programme? If not, UNB should make that public to protect its reputation. (If they are grads of UNB then, of course, it should keep it a secret.)
The TandT did not, of course, mention that there is a scheduled protest for all of us in support of Idle No More here in Moncton. It's Wednesday, Jan. 9, gathering in the parking lot on the east side of Sears in Champlain Mall at noon. We then march to city hall.
I would not take Alec Bruce's column about the return of American manufacturing very seriously (and I suspect it is written tongue in cheek.) Even if some should come back, the American economy would still be blasted by the moral rot that runs deep in both the public and private sectors, and the the wildly overmilitarized nature of the US. It faces generations of war against countries that are no military threat to it, and generations of corrupt, military spending. When an empire falls,it goes all the way.
The biggest news in a very boring paper is in letters to the editor. Two of the them are long, illogical, and wildly uninformed letters about gun ownership.
"In countries where only the army and police have guns, citizens have lost all freedom and liberty and live under a dictatorship..." Well, yeah. You see it every day. I mean just look at the lack of freedom in countries that are strict on guns - Britain, The Netherlands, Denmark... Brutal dictatorships, all of them.
The US, on the other hand, because its people have guns, have unlimiated freedom. The president, for example, had the freedom to have American citizens jailed and even executed with no charge or trial. (saves on lawyers.) The US also has the biggest internal espionage system in history with more secret police and unwarranted searches than even Hitler or Stalin could have imagined.
How come all them pistol-packin' folks ain't out in the street defendin' their constitution?
A Moncton writer adds a load of misinformation about Canadian history. US settlers, he said, depended on the gun. Canadians did not.
Oh? How did we kill all those Indians? Hugs and kisses? How did our early settlers get meat? Dress up as female moose in bikinis to lure male moose? Anybody ever hear of the Riel Rebellion?
As for the gun-totin' US, the settlers did not carry guns just to look cute - or to defend freedom. (By the way, the American revolution did not bring personal freedom. Americans already had that as part of their British heritage. What the revolution did was to bring national independence, something quite different.)
Far from leading the world in individual freedom, the US was one of the last to extend it to African-Americans and women. And carrying guns did not win them those rights. In fact, citizen carrying guns often held them back.
US settlers, like ours, had guns for survival. Far more than ours, they also used guns in series of wars and aggressions to steal Indian and Mexican land, and to murder as many native peoples as possible. Let's forget the romantic image of the frontiersman fighting for justice and freedom. He was more often a murdering, thieving, bastard.
Finally, the note adds a regret that God is not allowed in the schools. Well, what can you do? He/She doesn't seem to be allowed in the churches, government or corporate offices, either. Enough of this silly whining about schools as if they have destroyed religion in this morally decayed society.
Sorry not to hit on any big topics. There simply wasn't anything in today's paper to talk about.
On Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m., the current events group will meet in the library. I open to topics. But I would like the begin the way big business has been using words highly charged with propaganda, and highly destructive of democracy. Some of those words are "public sector", "private sector", "partnerships" - words with loaded meanings and very serious implications. We've come a long way from democracy - a long way the wrong way.
And don't forget the next day, Wednesday, Jan. 7, noon at Champlain Mall - the parking on the east side of Sears.