Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6: Poor Loblaw' didn't know...

...that women supplying it with clothes were working under deadly conditions for a dollar fifty a day. How could they know that conditions were so bad and pay so terrible? And now over 600 women are dead.

How could Loblaw's know?  IWell, it's only happened many times before in American history, Candian history, in India and in Bangladesh.

The whole reason for outsourcing  labour has been to exploit the desperately poor who have to accept terrible pay and dangerous conditions. It was to get away from North American unions and their cruel demands for decent salaries and safe conditions. It was to go to countries where they insist that good folks like the executives at Loblaw's could be free to make money without all that damned, communist interference of safety regulations and minimum wage.

The governments if those countries promised changes - but never made them. And that, too, was why Loblaw's looked to a country like Bangladesh.

Of course, some people, like the factory owners, will be charged with murder. They're disposable. But you can bet there will be no charges against the government that allowed this to happen. And, most certainly, no charges against the exectives at Loblaw's who not only knew what was going on, but who encouraged it. Nor will there be any charges against the governments and business leaders who practice this brutality - and worse - every day.

This is what globalization and free trade were really all about, freeing big business to exploit the most vulnerable people in the world - literally, to work them to death. Thank you, Brian Mulroney.

It happens throughout Central America. Brutal working conditions, beatings, low pay, people dispossessed from their land and homes if they're in the way, people murdered by the hundreds of thousands if they object. Yes, hundreds of thousands that the TandT rarely bothers to mention.

Why do you think there was a revolution in Cuba? Why do you think Cuba has held on for over fifty years despite enormous pressure from the US? Why do you think a quarter million native peoples were murdered in Guatemala? Why do you think papers like the TandT never carried the story? (The next one they'll either lie about or ignore will be Venezuela.)

The same thing is happening in Africa. That's why there are American troops in 35 countries of Africa.

But don't feel jealous of the Bangladeshis.. Our turn is coming. As soon as the unions can be smashed, propaganda monopolized by papers like the TandT, and us made poor enough, the same thing will happen here.

You don't think so? Well, it has happened here before. It was happening here as late as the 1930s. And it was done by the same sort of people, sometimes the same families, who are doing it in Bangladesh.

Go sit in the Irving Chapel, and ponder that.
Israel has bombed Syria - several times. The TandT noticed. For some reason, the headline is rather an indirect one. "Egypt condemns Israeli airstrikes against Syria." I mean, surely the news is that the strikes happened. Israeli has entered the Syrian war. Yes, war. That's what it's called when you bomb a country. Why one earth, of all the stories on this, would the editor choose one that concentrates on the Egyptian reaction?

It's alway been obvious that whoever edits NewsToday is thick, sloppy or lazy - or all three. Choosing to look at the Egyption reaction could be a reflection of any or all of these. And it gets worse.

The story says "(Israel) targetted  a shipment of ...guided missiles believed to be bound for Lebanon's Hezbollah"

Journalism 101: Israel SAYS it targetted a shipment of guided missiles. We don't know what Israel targetted. We only know what it SAYS it targetted. There's a difference.

How serious is this? Nobody can even guess the answer to that. It could blow the whole lid off that region - and even the rest of the world.

And it was almost certainly done with a nod of approval from the US, since Israel had just completed a high level meeting with the US. So the US either agreed - or Israel has publicly insulted Obama.

Oh, yes. Harper and Baird have both, long ago, pledged that Canada will support Israel in any war it fights - no matter who starts it. That is contrary to the Canadian constitituion. It is also contrary to what we claim over 100,000 Canadian died for in two world wars. Only parliament can declare war. A prime minister cannot.

But, then, Harper has shown that he really doesn't give much of a damn about the constitution.
The editorial is unspeakably trivial.

Alec Bruce has an excellent column on the Bangladesh tragedy, weakened only by its willingness to forive our business leaders, and to presume they will act appropriately. They won't. Anything they do will be short term and superficial. The system in Bangladesh was exactly what they wanted it to be. It was their reason for backing free trade in the first place. They won't change unless they're forced to - and Harper is not the man to force them.

Norbert Cunningham writes of the boasts of a new grouping of Maritime universities that is engaged in building an elite system. Norbert says, in gentler terms than I would, that they're full of BS. Norbert is right. I was once offered a senion administration job in a large university, but turned it down because the universities are full of BS, and are not likely to change.

Much of the damage is cause by MacLean's Magazine annual rankings of universities. MacLean's is full of it, too. But it's rankings are so influential that they force the universities to a MacLean's notion of what education is about.

Craig Babstock contributes a column on new penalties under Canadian criminal law. I have no idea why he wrote it, and can think of no good reason to read it.

Gwynne Dyer has an excellent column on the history of our fighting instinct. But I'm not quite in agrerement with the conclusion he draws. I wish I were. But I'm not. Read it, and see what you think.

In letters to the editor, three caught my eye.

Desmond Bird says we need to pep up our education system, and suggests changes in the US as models for us. Alas. Last time I looked, the US was well below 100th spot in world rankings; and Canada was in the top ten. I see no reason to study US methods.  I can confirm that from experience, having often had students from famous American universities like Harvard and Princeton.

I was astonished by the poor quality of their work - but wrote that off to the luck of the draw, thinking I just happened to have some bad ones. Then I learned that back at their home universities, they were straignt A students.

Desmond Bird also calls for making intelligent use of our vast shale gas reserves.  1. We don't know we have vast shale gas reserves. 2. There is no intelligent use of shale gas.

Jim Cougle says we need to get rid of civil servants and cut government spending to get out of our debt and the recession. Well, it sounds logical. But it has never worked.

We did that in the 1930s, and it made the depression worse. The British are doing that now, with the result it is sinking deeper, and one in five Brits has to borrow money to buy food. The cure is similar, and the results even worse, in Greece, Spain, Portugal, France....   In fact, Europe is in danger of collapse of the whole social order as a direct result of cutting government spending.

Firing people and cutting services will not fix our problem. We learned that  70 years ago. We also learned the correct solution - to give more power to government and to the civil service to spend money in ways that will boost the economy. So why aren't we doing that now?

We aren't because some people are doing very, very well as things are. As we get poorer, the super-rich are making their biggest profits in history. And that is exactly what happened in the depression of the 1930s. Despite the myth, bankers were not jumping out of windows in suicidal despair. They were making profits as never before.

The western world has been driven into recession by the irresonsible and illegal behaviour of so many of its bankers. Millions of Americans lost their homes. More millions, far more, are living on food stamps. Still others are living on nothing at all.

And the bankers who caused the recession? Did they jump out of windows? No. Why should they? They all got huge bonusses, and they're all making bigger profits than ever.

Can our governments afford to spend more to revive the economy? I think so. Canada just found $250 million or so to buy blueprints from Irving (a story that has yet to appear in the TandT), and Nova Scotia will be forgiving him a massive loan because he's such a nice boy.
There's an excellent article in Journal of New Brunswick Studies, vol. 1, 2010. It's J. walker, "The Once and Future New Brunswick Free Press". And it's on your computer. Just check out Google.

And there's a fun spot,
Just type in your postal code, and find out what your member of parliament has been saying in the house. (n.b. for Moncton - don't get your hopes up.)
On Tuesday, May 7, at 7 pm, the Current Events group meets at the library. Please come. It's lonely without you. And there really is no shortage of topics for this one.


  1. I've been watching and listening to the growing alternative media which is really coming on strong, especially since the Boston event. Many believe the hour is very late in the U.S. for freedom as we've known it!

    I highly recommend subscribing to retired (army) Lt.Col. Roy Potter on YouTube;

    Others are: Charlie McGrath (Wide Awake News); and The Corbett Report at

    And yes, even Alex Jones who though dramatic at times, does provide significant and factual up to the minute info. And yes, he does run annoying product placements but this is I suppose how he funds a growing staff of knowledgeable co-hosts on the show.

    But definitely check out Roy Potter's channel! The video that first came to my attention was the one he posted immediately after the Boston event. Watch it in the link below first.

  2. Thank you for those sites. I'll certainly be taking a look at them, and I'm sure other readers will, too.