Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 8: Still waiting for a computer hookup..

...amazing how we become dependent on these things. I don't know how to pay bills without a computer. I'm out of touch with everybody.  My world has ceased to exist.

Harper is coming to Moncton today. (page A3) He is unlikely the visit Harper Lane, the street named directly after his family. When he comes to NB, neither he nor the news media ever mention that this province is his ancestral home.

There was room in the story to mention he was going to attend a hamburger barbecue. But there was no room to mention that the oil tankers of Irving crude that crashed into Lac Megantic were improperly constructed, and not recommended for carrying crude oil.

It is also mentioned in the Harper story that CN is closing over 200 kilometres of track in northern New Brunswick because it's too dangerous, and not worth repairing.  However, that dangerous track will stay in use for another year. That would be part of the trackage in New Brunswick that Alward assured us was perfectly safe.

Page A 8 has a story about federal Minister of Justice Peter MacKay getting even tougher on crime. (It has no effect on crime. But it does get votes. It always scares the hell out of me to see such a dim bulb getting high office in Ottawa.)

C3 has a highly suspicious story that "Yemen foiled al-Quaida plots". This is part of a story that has been running for days. The US began by dramatically announcing a temporary shutting down of embassies in an unlisted number of cities, claiming it had intelligence of massive terrorist strikes to take place. Now, it seems, the strikes have been foiled. But there is no word of what it is that was foiled - or where. Frankly, this looks like a promo.

The US government has to keep American citizens feeling hatred and fear for Moslems. That hatred and fear is what makes it possible for the US government to get away with illegally invading countries like Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, gutting the protection of rights in the US constitution, spying on everyone, and illegally attacking countries with drones and special ops. And I suspect this "emergency" is part of the official brain washing.

The editorial needs really careful reading. It took me until the final, two paragraphs to catch on to the pitch. The editor, doubtless responding to orders from the boss, wants to introduce private medical clinics for "efficiency".

He makes the pitch that health care is a huge expense for taxpayers, so private clinics would be more "efficient".  Bull, bloodyshit.

Medicare is expensive. Yes. But private medical care is a hell of a lot more expensive - in insurance costs, in treatment, in everything. In fact, in the US, private health care is the major cause of bankruptcy for older people.

This is the thin edge of the wedge. There are people, very rich ones, who would like to see a private health care system so that they can get even richer. The 'efficiency' schtick is nonsense. Private health care is far, far more expensive than medicare. That's why the US has some of the worst health statistics in the developed world.

But, as in public schools, all the very rich can see in this is a chance to get their hands on more of our money - and maybe even to reduce their own taxes - again.

That's a pretty sleazy editorial.

Norbert's view that Via Rail's proposed security system won't work is probably right. This is a system that would operate with luggage searches, etc., just like airlines. But maybe it has nothing to do with security. Maybe, like this week's warnings of massive terrorist attacks, this is designed to keep us scared - and accepting of our drift into a police state.

Good title on Rod Allen's column - 'Pretty vacant....'    Right on, man.
Not really much in the paper - so let's take a look at liberalism.

I said that conservatism sees our society not as a loose collection of individuals, but as an organic whole. Liberalism is simply the opposite.

It sees us all as quite separate individuals.

From conservatism, then, we get medicare in which all members of society work to help each other. From liberalism, we get the concept of individual rights, including the right of individuals to have a voice in choosing who will govern them.

Extreme liberals, like billionaires, use liberalism to promote freedom for themselves to make as much as they like in any way they like without having any of that conservative concern for others. For them, the liberal concepts of small government, low taxes, reduced social services are right thinking. (That means, by the way, that most people who call themselves conservative are actually more liberal.)

Harper is hostile to social services, to higher taxation for the rich, to protection of the environment we all have to survive on. And he has no problem with spying on Canadians illegally (environmentalists, for example), to pass on information to wealthy individuals. Some scholars refer to him as a neo-Liberal. Okay. But he's still more liberal than conservative.

Are you a liberal or a conservative? Don't be in any rush to answer because any sensible person is a mixture of the two. As a liberal, I support the individual right to honest news, and to have a voice in choosing government.

As a conservative, and therefore concerned about the welfare of the whole of our society as well the rights of individuals, I support medicare. As a conservative, I think we need to force the very rich to do more to support the society that has made them rich; and we need to limit the power of the too-powerful.

Both the Conservative and the Liberal parties are essentially liberal to neo-liberal. Both will pass legislation for the benefit of society as a whole only when they are pushed to the wall. In that way, bank-robbers are liberals in much the way that dictators are conservatives. Bank-robbers are concerned with themselves only, and not at all with the needs of the whole society. Dictators are conservatives in the sense that they believe in strong government over the whole society in order to control it.

The NDP is a mixture of liberal respect for the individual combined with a conservative sense of the need to serve the needs of the whole society. In this combination, it was profoundly influenced by the Christian churches. It is no accident that the father of medicare in Canada was a Baptist clergyman, Tommy Douglas.

Much the same is true of the Green Party - though without such a pronounced Christian influence.

And what are socialism and communism? That's for another day. For a hint - the greatest socialist organizations of the western world are the armies.  Communism exists only in theory - and probably cannot ever exist in reality.


  1. A note to the so-called intelligensia - Graeme is a part of the intelligensia, so please ensure that his internet connectivity is reestablished as quickly as possible.

  2. Would the powers that be just get off their collective asses and get some internet service to Graeme? How hard can it be?