Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14: World aghast at double disasters.....

.....but the TandT is the one that got the big story of the day - a fish market has opened at the Moncton airport.

In other news, which didn't make the TandT, the US is stepping up its intervention in Syria. It is going to officially supply the rebels with weapons (it has always been supplying them. But now it will say it is.) It also plans to train Syrian rebels. The reason is that Britain and France and the US (all of whom played a part in starting the rebellion in the first place) now say Syria has been using WMDs. Gee! That's just like those awful people in Iraq, the ones who had the WMDs nobody can find.

The WMD in this case is poison gas.The only UN report on this says that the rebels have used it; but there is no evidence the government has. Well. That just shows how much the UN knows. We can trust the US, Britain and France to tell us the truth.

The US has also been supplying the "rebels" with trained soldiers, mercenaries from Latin American armies. Active intervention in that war by the western powers now seems a certainty. Syria can expect a bloodbath with even more, far more, than the 100,000 or so already killed. (And how many orphaned? widowed? crippled? imporverished?)

And it's much, much worse than that. Russia and China see this as a direct and unacceptable attack on their interests. Jihadists will see this as a staging ground for an assault on Israel. Israel sees it as a chance to destroy Palestine, and annex it to Israel.

What we're watching is a giant step to violence throughout at least North Africa and the Middle East with all major powers confronting each other. I shall not even attempt to guess what that will lead to.

But, hey! How about that seafood shop at the Moncton airport? Eh?
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The whole world, including friends of the US are aghast at its immense spying programme. It's criminal. It invades the space of every country on earth. (except, according to Mr. Harper, Canada.)
We haven't begun to hear the whole story on this one. ( and we aren't ever going to hear it from the TandT.)

Oh, I know. It defends us against terrorism. Most experts in the field say it doesn't. but it does put information about all of us into the hands of the US government - and into the hands of hundreds of thousands and officials and agents who can use it to attack political enemies, blackmail, coerce, even to murder under Obama's assassination programme.

But not to worry. Harper assures us that Canada is the only country in the world not affected.

This crisis IS even worse than the war in Syria. By spying on them, the US has declared war on every country in the world. That is not an exaggeration. Such intrusion is, by legal definition, an act of war. And within the US, it is the end of democracy. It's hard for us to grasp anything so fundamental and serious, I know. Most people in Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy couldn't grasp it, either. And so they sleep-walked their way into disaster - disaster for them and for everybody else.
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Speaking of Harper,  Arthur Porter, he man he appointed watchdog of our spy system, CSIS, is now in a Panamanian prison on charges of stealing millions of dollars from a Montreal hospital project. Way to pick'em, Steve baby.
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Speaking of local spying, you are, I suppose, aware that the RCMP has admitted to spying on environmentalists (on government orders), AND reporting their findings twice a year to top business leaders.  You see no problem with that?

Okay. Let's tell the RCMP also to spy on top business leaders, and then meet with environmentalists twice a year to share the information with them. Let's see if the TandT wets its pants over that.
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The lead story is an over-excited one about Robert Irving who has been, democratically i'm sure, chosen chairman of an Economic Leadership Council. This council of business leaders is going to plan the future development of Moncton.

Screw off, Bobbie, and take your flunkies with you. Y'see, in a democracy, we plan our future. We elect people to carry out our wishes. You and your friends have no more right to plan the future of Moncton than your brother and his flunkies had a right to plan the economic future of province.

Try to understand. In a democracy, we are all equal, and we all have equal rights. That means you have all the rights I do - but no more. You are not a superior being. Nor are your friends superior beings. You and they have no more right to interfere in our public insitutions than anybody else. And pass that word on to the princeling Irving who just got a contract from our snivelling politicians to interfere with our school reading programmes.

Incidentally, get a new speech writer. Your speech, as reported, was nothing but empty buzz-words. Our mayors and councillors were, of course, ecstatic about it -  which proves we have municipal politicians who are much like the lackeys we have in Fredericton.

Oh, and get a dictrionary. This assumption of political power by business leaders is , well, look under  "fascism".
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The cartoon, about flooding in Alberta, misses the point of that story (as the TandT also has). The danger of the flooding was that it seemed likely to cause overspills of the tailingponds, those vast lakes of the toxic waste from oil sands, that surround For McMurray, and poison all the fresh waters of the region.

Any news on how we're going to dispose of our far more toxic fracking waste? Could be a cartoon there - if a cartoonist had editors with guts and integrity.
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The editorial would be outclassed by the chatter of monkeys at the zoo. It'a a complaint about how politicians are overtaxing us. Yep, it's all the fault of them there politicians. It has nothing to do with the power of big business, with constant interference of big business in government. Yep. We gotta cut billions in spending, and get rid of useless social services so we can continue to give gifts and tax breaks to billionaires.
Incidentally, the US economy is not rebounding as the editorial claims,  not unless you kid yourself about what those official figures mean. Poverty and hunger are rising. Incomes are dropping - except for the rich.  In fact, it is quite likely that the US economy will never rebound to where it was.
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Norbert sticks with what he knows - rantinig ignorance. And our universities would attract huge crowds if their professors gave public presentations in their special fields? Norbert, Norbert....New Brunswickers don't like to attend serious talks - and certainly not if it's a talk that offends an Irving, and someone might see them there and report them.

I gave public talks on current events in a Montreal suburb smaller than Moncton every month for fourteen years. And for all those fourteen years, the audiences were 200 to 300 (maximum capacity).
You can check. I gave them at Eleanor London Library in Cote St. Luc. I also averaged some 60 talks a year in churches, at conventions, all sorts of topics to all sorts of audiences. A hundred would have been a small audience. The biggest was over 2,000.

I've given the same talks at the Moncton  library for two years. I'm lucky to get three people. Why the difference? Are Moncton audiences too sophisticated?

I see no evidence they are. After all, they turn out in droves to hear Robert Irving talk in buzz words.
No - two things are happening.
1. Monctonians are deliberately trained by the Irving press (and most of the private media) to be interested only in the trivial. (Wow! a new fish shop at the airport! Wow! University registrars don't just collect fees!
2. Monctonians are scared of the people who hold the real power in this province.

That's why this is the first province in Canada to go openly fascist.
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Alec Bruce's column is brilliant. I had no idea he was so well-informed about education. This is a must read.

I will just add one point (which in no way changes or criticizes what Bruce has written.) Education Minister Jody Carr is wasting money by putting it on "outcomes" in the form of tests at higher levels. But he is going to continue doing it because that is what his real boss wants. And the real boss thinks education is something like manufactutinig toilet paper.

I have written to the honorable minister to ask who is supplying the administration for the "outcome" tests. Is it the schools? Is it an outside agency? Who? He hasn't answered yet but, of course, it's somplicated question, and he's a very busy man.
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Michael Sullvan has excellent ideas on beautifying Moncton - but loses it when he advocates that the development of downtown ideas should be done in meetings with the big money players and developers.

That kind of "cooperation" is a large part of the hearings into corruption in Montreal's city government.

Anyway, these money people can meet with the mayor and the council whenever they want to. And I'm quite sure they do - maybe too often.

Should,for example, Robert Irving be in on the planning for the "events" centre? Isn't it possible that his ownership of the Wildcats might affect his judgement? And the owners of Highfield Square have every interest in selling off that land -whether it makes sense or not. They just want to make money out of a piece of useless land.

Isn't inviting these people to help plan urban growth rather like asking bank robbers to help police in designing burglar-proof banks?
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Jody Dallaire's column is first-rate. The answer to the exploitation of women in the sex trade is not in punishing the women - or even their pimps (though pimps almost never get punished, anyway). The answer is in criminalizing the johns, the men who pay for sex. They are the cause of the problem.
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And - the last letter on the last page by nine-year old Ira Reinhart-Smith of Alma, NB, is a delight. Read it. This is one, smart little girl.
 

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