Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29: a new record....

Today, I finished reading the Truthful Times and Transcript before I could finish eating my little bowl of Sugar Flakes.

The first page featured a photo of a young woman wearing red at the Heart &Stroke Foundation Heart Truth Fashion Gala. I always find it heart-warming to see pictures of my social betters at play, spending piles of money on clothes and food to raise rather less for a good cause. And it got even better. Pages A6 and A7 had 24 (count them, 24) more pictures of women in red dresses.

NewsToday is eight pages - of which six are ads. Only one page is really news at all. It doesn't mention that a hundred prisoners at Guantanamo are now on hunger strike - all of whom have been there for years with no  charges. None has any hope of ever being released. All are being held illegally.

Nor does it have the story of how the US has been operating torture prisons around the world for years in what is surely the largest torture system in history. It has done so with the full cooperation of some fifty countries - including Britain, Poland - and Canada. Oh, yes, and also with the cooperation of that Assad of Syria, the one that we are now told is a bad man. Canada has been good enough to supply the torturers with information and, occasionally, to supply them with people to torture. CSIS has even cooperated in the questioning though, of course, Canadians would never actually torture.

Also missing is the rioting and killing that has been going on with our good friends, the Emirates, as people struggle against the absolute dictators who rule those lands (and Saudi Arabia). Those people must be confused. After all, our side is the one that is spreading democracy. So the Emirates and Saudi Arabia can't possibly be dictatorships.

Syria? Obama is still pretending he's just an honest spectator in this war, though the US is close to coming out of the closet on that subject. And, though the news stories in the TandT have never mentioned it, leading figures in the American and British military are afraid that any further western interference in this war would send the whole region - and possibly the whole world - into chaos.

But not to worry. There's none of this in the Tand T. So reading it won't put you off your sugar flakes at all.

Norbert has  a column in which he says people who use the internet for bullying and humiliating should be punished under the law - and for juveniles who do so there there should be counselling, therapy, stern probation..... I agree. But gee whiz, Norbert. Aren't you the one who's always saying big government is bad?

Craig Babstock's opinion column is not an opinion column at all. It's a news story - and not a very perceptive or interesting one -  on how crowded our courtrooms are.

Allan Abel's comment is not only irrelevant, but quite possibly in bad taste as he devotes all of it to the bizarre statements of a very elderly and possibly demented ex-politician.

Alec Bruce is excellent on the dedication of the George dubya Bush Library - though he is a little kind on one point. He suggests that Bush was  just naive in thinking Saddam Hussein of Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction".  There's not a shred of doubt that Bush and Blair knew there were no such weapons. They lied. They lied so they could murder over a million people, destroy their country, and steal their oil.

Omar Khadra sits in a prison for what he did (maybe) when he was sixteen. Bush and Blair, who murdered on a mass scale, are rich and honoured.

Incidentally, there is no clear definition of the meaning of "weapons of mass destruction". That's partly because the term barely, if at all, existed when Bush first used it. He used it as one of those buzz terms that politicians use to cover up the fact that they're saying nothing at all.

Oooh - weapons of mass destruction.... ooooh, say millions of people who have no idea what the word means - but it sounds evil. It's like so many other buzz words and buzz terms used to provoke an emotional but ignorant reponse - "government is too big", "bureaucracy is bad", "deficits are bad", "private business is efficient".. These are the staples of our political discussion in our news media and, I'm sorry to say, among us.

Now, it seems, a pressure cooker is a WMD. Wow! If that's true, the US must be the biggest user of WMDs in the world. And if a pressure cooker is evil, what term to we need for a nuclear bomb?

And are chemical weapons evil? Actually, I think they are. But the biggest user of them in history was the US in Vietnam. It used them to defoliate huge areas, destroying both forests and food crops - and people. And, though Agent Orange was used so long ago, it still poisons the land and kills people.

A small amount of it ws used to control forest grouth in an army base in New Brunswick. It was a very small amount, used many years ago. But there are still signs in parts of Camp Gagetown warning people to stay away from poisoned areas. Just imagine what it must be like to be Vietnamese child living in and even more poisonous area.

Government is too big? That depends on what it has to do. Government is the only institution we have that protects us, the only one that acts (or should act) to serve us. We would have to be idiots to weaken the only institution that can protect us. (Alas! This world has no shortage of idiots.)

Private business is efficient?  Well, it's efficient at only one thng - making profits. In the course of doing so, the big, private businesses will impoverish nations, launch wars of plunder, grossly overpay their higher management, and cheat the rest of us into hardship by not paying their taxes. Big business is effiicient, I suppose, - in the same way a buzzard is efficient.

Bureacracy is bad? Well, big business is heany on (an overpaid) bureaucracy. If you are going to run anything that is large, you need a bureaucracy. The history of world progress over the past four or five hundred years has been a history of the development that bureaucracies made possible.

Deficits are bad? It depands on what they're for. If you run a deficit to spare Irving the grief of paying taxes, or if you squander money public/private/partnerships then, yes, that's a bad deficit. That's money thrown away.

But if you reduce a deficit during a recession by firing people, that's bad. Firing people simply creates more unemployed and makes the recession worse. Most of western Europe has been trying for three years of recession to reduce deficits by firing people, closing schools, letting people go hungry and homeless...  And all that has done is to drive countries like Spain, Greece, Britain, Ireland, France from recession into depression - a depression that is now worse than the 1930s - and possibly with  some serious repercussions in the form of wars both civil and foreign. The US is going in the same direction. Funny how the TandT never reports on that.

Meanwhile, more intelligently run countries like Sweden have been spending to create jobs, and to do work that creates long term benefits. And it's working. Whay is New Brunswick following the losers?

It's following the losers because it carries on its political discussion with buzzwords instead of facts. Because it's kept in ignorance by most of its news media. Because its economic leaders prefer it to be politically ignorant and poor. That's why we're hammering the health sytem when we should be hammering a tiny, tiny group of the very, very rich and greedy.


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