Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 5: Brilliant and fair-minded......

.....by the standards of the Moncton Times and Transcript.

The front page even has a full colour picture of a shale gas protest, featuring two, very cute, little girls. The story is followed up on A9 - though I good deal of it is given over not to shale gas protestors but to those with an interest in developing shale gas.

By contrast, just below the story on A9 is a story about how shale gas developers are ready to start work - it has not a word about protests. Still, give the TandT credit for noticing.

A2 has a story about Jack Mintz, a man who was an advisor to New Brunswick's Liberals on tax policy, warning against raising taxes on the rich and corporations.That's not surprising. He teaches public policy at university of Calgary - and U of Calgary is the greatest kisser of rich feet in Canada. (They also list him as chair of the department - as though that makes him a wise man. However, being chair has nothing to do with being wise. I was chair of a department for six years without a single mark of wisdom in that whole period.)

Funny thing about big business and taxes. Before their taxes were cut, they were making huge profits. After their taxes were  cut, they made huger profits. Now, we're told that if we dare go back to the old taxes, they'll leave. Why?

They were making huge profits under those taxes before. And they didn't move out. They did quite well. Now, all of a sudden and with lower taxes, they claim they're being taxed to death. And they still get so much in grants and privileges that it probably makes up for the little they do pay in taxes.

If they want to go, let them go. If Irving doesn't want our forests, somebody else will. If he doesn't want our shipyards, somebody else will. We could even develop these thing ourselves. Any expertise Irving has comes in the form of hired people. We, too, can hire such people. There is no special gift in any corporation family. And they do not create wealth. The wealth was created here in our land long before they were born. They don't create it. They soak it up.

Jack Mintz sounds like an advisor to bank robbers who tells us that if we don't don't leave our banks unlocked, then robbers won't come here any more. Then what will we do?

Still, the gesture was there. Protestors were given space and faces. They are admited to exist. That's a giant step forward for such a baby foot.
There are two items worth reading in NewsToday - which is two more than usual. On the Business Page, Tom Mulcair is playing a politically astute game (I hope) in being open to discussion of a free trade deal with Europe. If he isn't open to discussion, he'll be condemned as a wild-eyed radical. The risk is that such free trade deals normally come with severe damage to social programmes and even to basic human rights to countries that take part in them. The rich do well out of out them. Everybody else takes a pounding. For example, the Europeans want Canada to strip government regulation of Canada's banks. Right. Just what we need after we see the chaos that sort of thing has cause in the US and Europe.

On C4, the UN is nailing Canada for its failure to deal with poverty in this country, and its moves away from human rights. These are touchy points for Harper who loves parading his virtue. But the fact is that he has created a rise in poverty in Canada; and he has taken part in human rights abuses, including torture.
Norbert has a good point in his column - but, as usual - he destroys his own position with rant, name-calling, and lack of evidence. He couldn't say happy birthday without slandering somebody.

Alex Bruce is very solid on how ideology has taken over from common sense in political, social and business goals. We can see it right here in New Brunswick as the province imposes business methods on the operation of medicare, schools, and government in general.

But one size does not fit all. It might not fit even business. But one size is the new ideology. Harper is a man of ideology He believes. He has no evidence, and he tolerates no disagreement. He just believes. (Alward is not an ideologist; he's just a puppet.)

Actually, Norbert and Bruce discuss very similar problems. The difference is that Norbert is so committed to a blind ideology that he's just as bad as the people he denounces as tech idealists and deluded diehard socialists.

On op ed, Alan Cochrane writes a typical staff writer column. Intellectually, he gets beaten out by the column just below his, one on maple syrup.

Then there's the news that didn't make it into this best-ever edition of the Moncton Times and Transcript.
Two items stand out.

Eight thousand Haitians have died of cholera in the worst outbreak in decades.

But who gives a damn. Right?

Haiti is the island ravaged, starved, robbed and raped by the gangsters who were its army under a brutal dictator installed by the US. They kept Haiti a place of incredibly cheap labour, vile living conditions (and no services) for the benefit of big corporations operating exotic farms and cheap factories.

When Haiti got rid of the dictator and elected its first democratic president, a former priest, the American government expressed its displeasure, and warned him not to do any unAmerican things like charging taxes or building schools.

When he did that, the US promptly organized a rebellion (of thugs who had been in the Haitian army under the dictators), and used that as an excuse to send in a 'peacekeeping force'. The peacekeepers promptly forced the president onto a plane and into exile, while the invading thugs shook hands all round.

Then came the earthquake.

The US promised vast amounts of aid - most of which never arrived. Much of it went into the pockets of  'contractors' who did nothing to earn it. The rest simply was stopped.

Always a place of poisonous water and virtually no sanitation, Haiti only got worse after the earthquake. Thousands are still living under canvas that can only politely be called tents. There is still virtually no clean water available, often no drinking water at all, and no toilets or any semblance of a sanitation system.

The cholera that struck these people almost certainly came from peacekeeping troops from Nepal. But the UN refuses any responsibility. So the Haitians go on dying.

In Cuba and Haiti we see two nations who lived under a long series of American-installed dictators, two countries pillaged by good ol' companies like Dole. (The original Dole was a missionary to Hawaii.) Both were and are among the poorest nations in the hemisphere.

Cuba broke away from American control. It now has decent and sanitary housing, medicare which makes general health superior to that in the US, free public education all the way through medical school (in fact, many American medical students now train in Cuba). But if there's any derogatory news about Cuba, depend on the Moncton Times and Transcript to publish it. And count on it to ignore the good parts - unless Norbert were to write a column calling the Cubans "deluded socialist idealists".

Haiti, thanks to US control, lives deep in filth and poverty. There is virtually no education, no sanitation, no health care. And there are the dead. And the dying. Count on the Moncton Times to ignore that, too.
Nor has there been any mention of Pfc. Bradley Manning, and American soldier was held in a military prison for three years without charge or trial. Almost all  his prison time was spent in solitary confinement, often with sleep deprivation (maintained by waking him every half hour, day and night.

His crime? He released thousands of the Wikkileaks stories (which were ignored by the Irving press and most of the North American press.) The American government says he endangered US security by releasing military secrets. But that's not what they said at the time it happened.

Then, they said that the information was embarrassing, but not a threat to national security. Why the change of mind?

Because it was embarrassing. It revealed that the US was deliberately carrying out war crimes, and inflicting terrible suffering and death on innocent people by the millions. Bradley was badly shaken by what he saw, and by the obviously deliberately savage behaviour of the American government. As he told the court, the felt that as a matter of conscience, this had to be made known.

That's why he now faces a military court with 150 witnesses (all partners in the brutality that was done) to testify that his action did damage national security. Bradley's probably fate? The rest of his life in a military prison, perhaps in solitude. The government wants him badly.

Gee. Perhaps this could be a sermonette for the faith page on Saturday. You know - if Jesus had been in private Bradley's position, what would He have done?

Nah. I mean, Jesus would have said, "My country, right or wrong." Jesus was a big patriot and defender of the free enterprise system. Just ask Norbert.

1 comment:

  1. "If Irving doesn't want our forests, somebody else will"

    Too late. If you fly over this province you will plainly see they are mostly gone.

    "If he doesn't want our shipyards, somebody else will"

    Too late. The ever frugal Irvings have decided to build ships where the pay-out is the highest (Halifax).

    " They don't create it. They soak it up."

    Things starting to "dry up" in NB, not to worry, our money is ALL offshore, we've sucked NB dry, and can discard the rotting husk anytime.