Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 28: What's it all about?

First, I should confess that I have several posts from readers pointing out I had incorrectly referred to Health Minister Flemming as  Hemming. I could say I was protecting all the Flremmings of New Brunswick from the shame of having  such a coarse and bullying lout in the family. But I wasn't. I just forgot. Afterr all, this is not a name that's going to echoing down the halls of history.

No, this is the sort of man who throws a tantrum after just ten minutes of discussion, and storms out of a meeting because he isn't getting his way. All of it. Then he holds a press conference to say his door is always working. I would have more respect for him if he also threw tantrums like that and walked out on Mr. Irving - or whatever messenger boy Mr. Irving sends to give him orders. I would have more respect for him if he had the courage or inegrity to treat Mr. Irving as he treats our doctors.

As well, Mr. Flremming (and Mr. Irving) have a penny ante notion of what government economies are like. They don't work the same way as a family or a personal budget does. Firing 400 health workers, for example, will NOT save the money in those 400 salaries because a large part of that money would have come right back in taxes. As well, the money from those 400 salaries would be spent many, many times over in the coming year, mostly within local communities - providing both more jobs and more taxes on each spending. Net result? Our "saving" by firing 400 medical staff will probably cost us heavily within just the first years. Instead of easing a recession, we will make it worse.

Austerity plans such as this do not work. They have not worked in Europe which most of the continent is slipping into misery and, quite possibly, into violence. Austerity didn't work in the Great Depression of the 1930s. The lesson of the dirty thirties was a powerful one  - or should have been. If both business and government cut spending, the result is deepening suffering. The answer, when private business won't spend, is for government to spend.

And if Mr. irving really wanted to help, he would get his nose out of government and, instead of piling up his biggest profits in history and then sitting on them, he should use them to invest and create jobs. Of course, he does well the way thing are. He's not the one standing in a soup line. He's not the one trying to live on EI. He's not the one who's going to have to take any job h e can get. No, in fact, he's the one who'll have his choice of people begging for jobs for any price they can get. And he'll ripTher even more out of this province than he does now.

Now, for a look at the future which, I am afraid, is already here.

Every November, we will turn out for mass rallies to remember the veterans of our wars; and we will be told, every year, of how they risked their lives and how over a hundred thousand died to protect our freedoms.

What are those freedoms?  (It's amazing how few Nov. 11 speakers seem to know what they are.)

There is no "factual" statement of what those freedoms are. But the most widely accepted and best known definition from the early days of the Second World War are The Four Freedoms laid out by President Roosevelt. They are Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom of Fear.

The only one we have retained is Freedom of Worship- but that is mostly because most churches are no threat to the wealthy and powerful Those that do discuss what is going on in the world are largely the ones that support government policies of war and destruction.

Freedom of Speech? In most countries, especially in the US, if you exercise your freedom of speech with opinions the authorities don't like, you end up as one of the names on secret lists shared by Homeland Security, tthe FBI, and the dozen or more secret agencies that keep an eye on you. Someday,you learn you can't get on a plane; your phone and your computer are tapped; and there's a device fixed to the bottom of your car to trace wherever you go. And God help you if you take a holiday in Cuba.

That happens to Candians, too. We learned not long ago that the RCMP and CSIS spy on environmentalists. Then, twice a year, they report their findings at meetings with business leaders. That's been going on for a long time. But they don't spy on polluters, then report their findings to environmentalists. You think  it's okay to spy on environmentalists because they might cause disorder? Well, I can give you quite a list of illegal, sickening and killing damage that's been done by big business polluters. However, I don't offhand know any damage or illegal activities by environmentalists.

Years ago, I was active in the nuclear disarmament movement. Government and business were not pleased with the movement. At the same time, I was doing some volunteer work with police and young criminals - so I came to know many police well enough to be good friends with them. Their dislike of the ND movement was intense. Many told me of their longing to be turned loose on a parade of those "shit disturbers" to punch them out.

In a free and democratic society, the function of the police is to enforce the law. (And to protect freedom of speech and thought.) When the function of the police changes to protecting authorities and big business from criticism, to keep secret lists of "distrurbers", to spy on citizens who have borken no laws, then we know longer have a free and democratic society. What we have is what is called a police state.

One of the worst police states in the United States, "sweet land of liberty". But Canada is catching up.

New Brunswick, in all the years I've known it, has never been a model of free speech. Suppression of free spech in this province has been widely accepted as a fact of life enforced by gossip, employers, a lying press and a submissive population.

But every November, the usual hypocrites will line up to give speeches about how our veterans risked their lives - often losing them - to defend the free speech we hold so dear.

Freedom from want? Get real. In a recession, our only response is to create even more want by firing medical staff and cutting EI benefits. The US is responding the same way with one in five American families now living on food stamps, and with social help being severely cut to feed the billionaire owners of the defence industry. Most of western Europe is even worse - far worse.

In the rest of the world, in Congo, Guatemala, indeed across all Africa and Central America we hold people in poverty and sickness so we can loot their minerals and farms on the cheap.  At home and abroad, we deliberately hold people in poverty and want so that our billionaires can make even more billions - and we allow ouor wealthy to hide their money so they don't have to pay taxes on it. After all, taxes would only be wasted on helping the hungry and the homeless.

Freedom from fact, the creation of fear is a major activity of our governments. We have to fear. We have to hate.  I'm not sure how many wars the US has fought over the past sixty years.Some were open -Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan.... Others have been fought by US-paid mercenaries and/or as civil wars fomented by the CIA (as Syria, Guatemala, Haiti, Chile..., and as is likely to happen in Venezuela...) In sixty years, it has fought at least sixty wars, all of them against smaller, weaker, poorer countries. Almost all of those wars were fought to benefit big business. Most ended the establishment of dictatorships, only sometimes disguised, thinly, as democracies.

To convince the American people they had to fight those wars and to pay the immense costs, they used the traditional bribes of fear and hate. Cubans are evil. They weren't when they were under American dictators. But now that they kicked out the dictators, they're evil.  Saddam was evil. He wasn't when the US put him in power. He wasn't evil when the US used him to invade Iran. But he became evil.

He had weapons of mass destruction, too. Well, okay, he didn't. But he could have had. The US wouldn't dream of having weapons of mass destruction.

And you have to keep the people in constant fear. 9/11 was a gift to Bush. It gave him his excuse to invade Iraq and then Afghanistan. It have gave him a chance to spread a fear and hatred against Islam and the threat of its attacks that would justify his tearing up of most parts of the constitution that used to guarantee American rights.

The hatred, fear, and paranoia were encouraged by virtually all western news media. Today, paranoia part is so great, that Obama, on the sly, has been whipping up and supplying a civil war in Syria - and has actually been supporting a "rebel" force which is largely made up of Moslem militants. The purpose here - and we'll se it in other countries, is to set Moslems up for insane wars against each other, leaving US business free to plunder divided and weakened states.

On the day of the Boston bombing, there were more Americans killed by handguns than were killed by the bombers. But look at the hysteria caused by the Boston bombers. Watch for Obama to use that hysteria. (The school shootings were far worse than the bombings. So where's the fear and hysteria over those?)

An American magazine carried a headline that it would never forget the Boston terror bombings. Presumably, it is assumed that Moslems don't notice that terror bombers from the US hit them every day.)

Of the four freedoms, the only one that survives is Freedom of Worship. And that only because the churches have either accepted or kept their mouths shut about the other three freedoms.

The truth is we live in a western world in which moral values have largely ceased to exist, and in which the unlimited greed of big business is the driving force - though you would never guess that from reading the Truthful Times and Tribune. The evil isn't "over there". It's here. That's why we're kept in fear and hatred of the people over there, so we won't notice the evil ones over here.

New Brunswick is just a small-scale model of a society in which freedom has largely disappeared since 1945, and in which power is really held by a tiny number of the very rich but not, alas, very intelligent.

And that takes us to the question of what we can do about it. But this is already a long blog. Another day. And, yes, New Brunswickers can do something about it. We'll talk about it.



  1. Great blog! Glad I found you today ... by accident. Was looking for info on who wrote the Spencer Nursing Home flyer - my grandmother used to live there - and saw that you had received it as well. I kind of got sidetracked and started reading your unique blog.

    Just wondering if you have any personal association with Peter Dale Scott. Thought that perhaps you came across him in academia or something. Anyway, his work on deep politics is respected world wide, and rightly so. If you don't know him personally, have you read any of his work?

  2. I'm embarassed to admit I don't know much about Scott. In fact, I'm doubly embarassed because I met his father several times in Montreal and, in my early radio days, took part in a commemorative broadcast on the occasion of Frank Scott's death.
    I also remember meeting a woman who must have been Peter Scott's sister.

    I'm astonished at the range of Peter Scott's writing - and the volume of it. Thank you for your note. I'm going to make it a point to read some of him.