Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 9: Fuss, feathers, and my crash....

I know. Tuesday at 4 p.m. is late to start a blog that should have been finished before noon - especially after missing yesterday. Look, I have issues, okay? I have relatives summering in widely  scattered parts of the maritimes, relatives I haven't seen since last summer So I'm driving a lot. And in three weeks, I'm moving.And this morning, the power failed in my apartment. I just fixed it. Donne-moi un break.

It's hard to know what to say about a newspaper in which the front-page, read-all-about-it headline is "Canadians urged to wear more sunscreen".Mind you, it does show that the TandT is paying more attention to climate change than Moncton City Council has. (Incidentally, the editorial mentioned the threat of climate change. So how come the editors haven't noticed that shale gas has some pretty strong connections with climate change? And how come they haven't noticed the utter failure of all levels of government in this country to take any protective measures?

What we have to work on is some way to make climate change protection profitable for the Irvings.The the TandT will shove it down our throats like the events centre and shale gas.

And, on p. 4, the TandT has at last noticed there's a big confrontation going on over the biggest political and social issue to hit this province in decades.  Well. it doesn't say much about the confrontation between anti-shale gas protesters and SWN. Instead it concentrates on a court hearing for Chief John Levi. Still, it's a competent and fair report - not something we often see in the TandT.

NewsToday has some competent reporting on Canada - if not much of it, then runs its usual page of groups smiling and holding big cheques as donations, and somebody getting thanked for doing volunteer work. These are almost daily features, so much so I had long assumed New Brunswickers to be exceptionally generous with both time and money. In fact, New Brunswick is close to the bottom for Canada in both categories. In fairness, though, volunteers have been a dying breed across Canada for a good forty years.

The most important story of the day is on he last page of Newstoday, "Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood urges revolt against army". It's a common, garden variety of superficial news that one comes to expect from sources like The Associated Press - lots of names, lots of incidents, but conveying no sense of  what it all means. Here's what happened.
1. President Morsi was elected in Egypt'first, democratic election - hailed at the time as a triumph of the march of democracy in the Arab world  The US, in particular, hailed this election as the beginning of a new age, and did as much as possible to take credit for it. (US leaders like to kid us all they are big on democracy, and want to carry it everywhere.)

2.The army overthrew Morsi, took power  for itself and, in  a confrontation with Morsi supporters, killed over fifty of them. The army has now resumed its normal role as ruler of Egypt.

3. Now, I don't like or approve of anythng Morsi has done. For that matter, I think Alward has done enormous damage to New Brunswick, and Harper has done what could be fatal damage to Canada. But I certainly would not call in the army to oust either of them. In a democracy, you get what the majority want. You might not like it. But that's the price of democracy and, for all its faults, it works better than any other system. The Egyptian army overthrew democracy. (Oh, I know it's going to call a new election. And I can just imagine how fair and open that will be.)

4. President Obama was faced with a military coup. It is, supposedly, American official policy always to support democracy. It is also American official policy to cut off aid to any country in which democracy is overthrown. So what did Obama say and do?


He never even said the word 'coup'. He said nothing of cutting off aid (mostly for the army) to Egypt.

Slice that any way you like. The reality is that the US will support democracy only when the elected government agrees to be a good puppet. That's why the list of American-created democracies is a very short one. And the list of American-supported dictatorship very long, indeed.

5. Where is this going? Almost certainly to a rapid growth of ultra-islamic groups in Egypt, possibly amounting to a civil war. The whole region is collapsing into a general civil war, largely as a result of decades of destructive American foreign policies - both political and economic. This is in an area rich with weapons, including chemical ones, thanks to US 'aid'. It's also an area vital to the US, Russia, China and, of course, Israel - all of whom have nuclear weapons.

This is kind of important - even more important than wearing enough sunscreen.
With nothing much to talk about in today's paper, I can touch on a subject which is dreadfully inadequately reported.

In his last address to the American people, President Eisenhower warned them about the military-industrial complex. The proof of his warning has been in every US bedget for decades. The military-industrial complex is the biggest, most corrupt scam in history. And it has come to Canada.

It begins with retired generals ( and Canada has more of these per capita, probably, than any country in the world. They promptly get executive titles in big corporations, then earn big bucks by talking MPs and the Defence Department into wildly overpriced and poorly planned purchases.  For example......

When Defence Minister Peter Mackay (if he still is defence minister at this writing) announced the stunningly high cost of our new fighter plane, he said that his estimates included cost of maintenance over the many years it will be in service. MacKay was full of it - and he knew it.

It is not possible to estimate the cost of operation of any piece of machinery over the years. Who knows what can happen? Who knows what changes to them will be necessary over the years? Who knows what the intense service of combat will do to their durability?

Whenever you hear a politician excusing costs by including some number for maintenance, you can be sure he's lying. You can also be sure that by the time it becomes clear that he was lying, the news media will long have forgotten the whole story and, in any case, the minister will by that time have a good job as an executive for the defence industry.

For a good example of political corruption and incompetence, take a look at our submarine fleet. (We have just four for all of Canada.) All four have spent most of their time in dock going aground on their own beer bottles, or in rehab. But, in the recent award of contracts for a new navy, there is no submarine - though submarines are probably the most important vessels for Canadian defence.

But, apart from CBC, few of our news media are going to look at what this is all about, and why we are spending so many billions the way we have contracted to.

For military matters in Canada, I know of only one, good web site - http://www.espritdecorps.ca/

It's not as feisty as it used to be. But it's still the best around.


1 comment:

  1. The plot thickens. (Quebec rail disaster)

    Best map I can find is here:


    The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway:


    From the MMA website:

    MMA connects with seven Class I, regional and local railroads and provides the shortest, most-direct rail link between Northern Maine, Saint John, New Brunswick and Montreal. In addition, MMA offers excellent access to port facilities on the Atlantic at Saint John, New Brunswick and Searsport, Maine.

    Owned by: Rail World, Inc.




    So, between foreign ownership, likely empty (or soon to be empty) shell companies, and cross licensing, old Irving is right in the "thick of it".

    (keeping in mind that New Brunswick Southern Railway is an Irving company, that acquired Maine Northern Railway in 2011)