Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nov. 11: Judy Dallaire's column..

My farourite columns are the ones that make me think. Jody Dallaire is frequently in that categorty, and she does it well.  This one is about the red poppy - and the white poppy.

Though I as very young, I still remember the days when boys  from my father's scout troop would come to the house to say goodboye aa rhey left for the first contingent to go overseas in 1939. I remember Jack, showing off his neat and shiny penknife the navy had given him, Paul who lay on the floor to help me with a drawing.  Later, my father would go, too.

Then there was Bertie. He was my friend because - well, because he was severely retarded, and he had no friends his own age. As soon as he was sizteen, he quit grade four, stole his brother's draft papers, and joined the Black Watch. Sic months later, and still sixteen, he was cut in half by a German machine gun in his first action.

My uncle joined to get away from his wife and two children, and have a good time. The boys from scouts joined because they had no jobs, and no hope of getting them. Many fathers joined because they couldn't feed their families on the jobs available.

Now, a government that had ignored their suffering for ten years generously offered them an ocean cruise to Britain, regular mreals, free flights over Germany, and regular money for their families back at home....

I never heard one of them say he was going to defend freedom. Few of them even understood the word. (The avereage school completion of a Canadian soldier ini World War Two was grade 6. In any case, Canadian freedom was never threatened. There was never the slightest possibility that Germany, Japan, and Italy, even if they had won the war. could have invaded North America.

Many joined for sheer economic survival in a Canada that had done almost nothinig for them through the dirty thirties. That became pretty obvious as defence jobs became available, and the supply of recruits dried up.

We owe a great deal to those who went over.  We haven't ever paid it back. (We couldn't, anyway, but we could at least have tried by making this a country for the Canadian people, and not must for the benefit of the very rich.) All we do is to give pompous and misleading speeches (clergy are the worst) every November 11 about glory and honour.

Jody Dallaire reminds us of the huge number of civilians who are slaughtered in modern war - far more than those who die fighting deaths. She reminds us what we should remember on Novement 11, along with the sacrifice of 40,000 Canadians. We should be in the lead of those working for peace. Instead, we're the buddies of those who are now carrying out the longest and most savage wars in history. And they aren't doing it to preserve freedom.

Thus, the white poppy. Wear both. Remember the sacrifices. And remember the better world they were supposed to make possible.

A nice, balanced essay by Alex Bruce about pipelines.

The editorial is, in a perverse way, a sort of delight. It shills for shale gas, of course.

It mentions we have had two reports on shale gas development. What he doesn't mention is that one of the reports was written by an expert who said shale gas was dangerous - and it was promptly buried by the government and the Irving press.  The second report was written by a fraud artist who was praised to the skies by the government and the Irving press.

The editorial writer says it's good because Frank McKenna said so. Well, yes. Frank McKenna knows far more about thiese things than the chief medical officer does.

Oh, yeah. And the government will have the most rigid rules in the world.

Gee! But if it's so harmless, why do we need rigid rules?

And exactly what are there rigid rules? Shale gas exploration seems to have been going on for a decade with no rules or enforcement that anybody knows of.                   

Norbert Cunningham just delivers a vague rant. Lots of name-calling.

Rod Allen refers to kids and brats (again). Rod, calling kids brats was mildly funny the first ime. Alas, "brats" and "wife number 1" are really quite worn out as displays of wit.

Oh, and if our wars were fought to bring freedom, how come so many of the countries we control don't have freedom? I'm thinking here os Central America, and much of Africa. How come the US destroyed democracies in Iran, Guatemala, Haiti and so many other countries? How come one of our two, biggest allies in the Middle East is one of the most rigid dictatorships in the world - Saudi Arabia?

And how come we have a document called Project for the New American Century? It's on the web. and it's a plan for world domination by one country. And we're involved in it.  We can talk about it. But that's for another day.

Sorry, I forgot a gem on p.3 "Premier sees no point in visiting longhouse".

Premier Alward has refused to visit the chief of the Maliseet in a longhouse her people have erected in Fredericton. Alward says there's no point in talking with her because he is opposed to shale gas, and will not change her mind.

Oh, my, how very unlike our premier. He has always been willing to change his mind and to put a halt to shale gas development. I mean, I'm sure he showed that in his famous seventeen discussions with native leaders.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oct. 30: Just another day for the TandT

The first page has the not unusual propaganda story to boost the "events centre" which, it seems, will create a pupulation and business boom (while the rest of the world continues in recession and an increase of poverty.) The weather for Hallowe'en will be nice.  (That's the banner headline, the big news of the day.)

There were 570 people at a five hundred dollar per plate dinner for the provincial Liberal party. Yep. Man and wife, that would be a thousand dollars to eat out - and listen to Jean Chretien.  Jes' folks like you and me who like to eat out once in a while - probably some of your neighbours there.

Chretien advised Liberal leader Gallant to support shale gas.  His words of wisdom were, "...if a resource is there, it should be used in the proper fashion."  That's so true. We should never use it in the improper fashion.  Anyway, don't worry, Jean.  Gallant will support shale gas just as soon as he gets into power.

The New Brunswick Energy Institute has appointed Annie Daigle as its executive director. Unlike professor Lapierre she does not appear to be world famous, but she does have a degree of master of science in geology going way back to 2005. Somehow, these seem slender qualifications for this job. In contrast to the gush we heard  at the original appointment of prof. Lapierre, and this is a very brief statement for such a story. That's nice. At least, they didn't lie and propagandize as they did with Lapierre.

There's a big story on how our Conservative mp, Robert Goguen, is one of the many people working on a new bill in parliament. However, there no bill yet. And he is only one of many people workiing on it. So Why is t his a big story for Moncton?

Well, it might have something to do with Chretien's thousand dollar a plate dinner. Harper doesn't want to be upstaged.  And this story takes even more space than the Chretien story - though it means just as little.

It's just amazing how that paper can turn out a deadly dull and irrelevant section  A every day.


NewsToday has nothing we didn't hear yesterday on radio or TV. Only two of the stories are of any importance.

One is the story of government treatment of our military, of how injured troops are often demobilized before they qualify for pensions. That goes with the shabby treatement of soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress.  That's why I avoid rememberance days services that have speeches. I cannot stomach the hypocrisy of those speeches about how grateful we are to our soldiers.

War is not just the risk of being killed or injured in fighting. It's often physical and emotional damage that lasts forever - that ruins lives, that leads to a high rate of suicide, that destroys families. Canada's record in dealing with this, or even recognizing it used to be half-decent. But it's gone downhill under "Captain Canada" Harper.  I guess there's no votes in it.

It's also worth reading about international spying,  and Canada's prominent role. The recording of personal communications, business ones, and political ones is now driven hopelessly out of control by the development of communications, by greedy and criminal investors, by government collusion with big business, and the sheer thirst for power and control - of all of us.

Yes. We're all on the list. Don't kid yourself about that. And that gives so much power to big business and politicians to manipulate us that democracy cannot exist. It has long since disappeared in the US, and it is probably much worse in Canada than we realize.

Note that the news of this spying did NOT come to us from our news media. It came from people like Donald Snowden and others who worked in the system, and who realized how dangerous it was to all the values of our society. They, not the politicians who want to jail them in solitary forever or the "special ops" who are assigned to murder them, are the outstanding patriots or our time. They are the ones who are trying to help democracy survive - they are, not big business, not the political warriors.

The (few) Donald Snowdens are the real defenders of democracy in these times, not the ones who get showered with honours for their patriotic posturing.
On editorial and op ed, only Alec Bruce is worth reading.

What's missing most of all is any sense of the outstanding development of our time. For five hundred years, western powers like Portugal, Spain, Britain, France, the US, have dominated the world. and done it with ease. And that seems to be all over.

The US can destroy. It can, and has, fought some of the most brutal and destructive wars in history. But it can't win. We are now learning that for all the indiscriminate slaughter that Iraq has been lost. Within a short time, that country will probably be controlled by jihadists. Parts of it, especially the Kurdish parts, will break away. The great American embassy built there as a permanent fortress, and the most expensive embassy iin the world, is now full of cobwebs and echoes.

Over a trillion dollars was spent to fight a war against a country far smaller and weaker than the US. And the US lost.

It lost in Afghanistan, too. It lost in Libya as it's puppet government failed - and the oil companies have lost as insurgents have pretty well closed the oil business.

US foreign policy for the past fifty years has been one disaster after another. It can destroy. But it cannot control.

On the economic side, we are seeing the same kind of disaster. The massive shift of wealth has been from west to east. Unfortunately, the east is treating it in the same way the west is - by puttinig most of the money into the pockets of very few. Around the world, some 1% of all the people now control 48% of all the wealth.

We have seen it here as coporations contract out their work to poor countries (which do not get richer as a result. They just get more rughlessly exploited.) Meanwhile, most of us get poorer. At some point, as the concentration of wealth gets even more intense, we will have to face the queston.We make people work cheaply all over the world so that increasingly more money is concentrated in fewer people. And some day soon,....

Who is going to buy the goods?

We are probably living through one of the greatest changes of history. But one would never guess ir from our news media.

But Moncton City Hall is preparing for the future. It's going to build an events centre.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oct. 29:well , this time I DO disagree with Alec Bruce

Mr. Bruce's column today is on shale gas. He argues that we should develop shale gas because the world is shifting to the use of coal - and that has even a worse effect on climate and environment than shale gas does.

He also accuses shale protestors of being victims of mass hysteria, and of wanting to drive the fossil fuel industry underground.

Mass hysteria? We have very strong evidence that climate change is real, that it's happening, and that it's due to greenhouse gas emissions. We have very strong evidence that it will have catastrophic effect on our lives. Well-qualified scientists warn that the tipping point is very close - and so is a point of no return.

Here in NB, we had a report from our chief medical officer that the mining of shale gas posed severe health risks for us. The government trashed the report, and hired a fraud artist to sell its version of events. It is almost certain that our children will suffer for this.

Gee. Sorry if I seem concerned about it.

As for the mass hysteria, how about the behaviour of the oil and gas industry that's so reckless to make money while it can that it lies, cheats, corrupts to make as much money as it can while it can. And the Irving press has helped it every step of the way. The Irving press helped to destroy the Cleary report, and withheld information for years, and it has routinely attacked only those opposed to shale gas. It is the Irving press, the one you work for, that has divided New Brunswick far, far more than protestors have.

That's not mass hysteria, of course. No. That's pure greed and indifference to suffering. And that's much nicer than mass hysteria.

Meanwhile, Harper kills almost all scieintific research on the subject, and destroys almost all environmental protection. So we're well looked after on that end.

Then Mr. Bruce  says that shale gas would not be so damaging to the environment as coal. Probably not. But the damage is already so heavy and advanced that coal is not likely to make any significant difference.

There are some things we cannot have. Get used to it. Or let your children pay the price for your calm and unhysterical thinking.

The press and the oppoisition parties in Ottawa continue to cover the Senate/Harper scandal - as they should. But it may be time to add a different approach.

To prove that Harper lied to parliament would certainly be to prove a very serious charge. But - it is not illegal to lie to parliament. When an MP (or a prime minister) is caught in a lie, he or she cannot be forced to resign. The assumption is that the sinner will voluntarily resign as a matter of personal honour. And I bet you can see the weakness in of that in this case already.

Nor, by the way, would it help to force Duffy, Wallin, et al out of the Senate. That's is probably beyond Senate powers and, in any case, would set a very bad precedent. If senators could vote other senators out, then a Senate dominated by one party (as ours is) could vote to expel all the opposition senators. And that practice could well extend to the House of Commons. It's very dangerous to play these games. And there might be a better way.

There can be no doubt that Harper broke the law. He broke it when he appointed Duffy. The constition is very clear on this. A senator must be a resident of the province he is appointed to represent.  That means he must have his principle home (not a cottage on the shore) in that province. Duffy didn't. He hadn't for decades. No court could seriously entertain the idea that Harper was ignorant of that.

It's really Harper, not the unattractive Mr. Duffy, who caused this crisis. He should never have appointed Duffy in the first place - and he surely knew it. Harper, as usual, showed contempt for the constitution just as he daily shows it for the very idea of democratic government.

Or we can go on waiting for Harper's sense of personal honour to kick in. Happy waiting.

That story, by the way, is pretty well the only news in NewsToday. There is no mention of signs of a serious decline in US power in Africa and the Middle East, of how bandits have pretty much ended oil producation in "liberated" Libya, the country we Canadians bombed to bring democracy. There's no mention of the American growing reliance on assassination squads. And, certainly, no mention of very serious Saudi and Israeli threats to bomb Iran and, maybe, Syria.

Section A is a dead loss.
You know, I'm all in favour of law and order. That's why I'd love to see some in New Brunswick.

If some wretch murders somebody in a remote village of Iowa, the story has a good chance of making the pages of the Irving press. Forty-seven people were killed in the explosion of a oil train bound for New Brunswick. So how is the investigation going? Are those oil trains stilll running? Are they still the old ones that are prone to explosion? Will they now be running more of them through New Brunswick to get to St. John?  Have any changes been made in the rules? Why were the rules loosened in the first place? Why changed them? At who's request?

There was an early story that Irving Oil filed a false report of the type of oil it was carrying - and that false report may have been a factor in the response to the accident that killed forty-seven people.

So why haven't we heard anything about all of these?

Imagine how different it would have been if the Irvings were a native family.. Boy, we'd have riot police and snipers all over Rothesay, and one burly cop would snap handcuffs on Mr. Irving, kneeling there in the middle of the road with his dress on and holding up a feather of peace.

I'm all in favour of law and order - but not so big on favouritism and selective harassment.

What is happening to prof. Lapierre? What he did looks to me like a criminal offence. He may also have put lives into danger over the years in accepting jobs he knew he was unqualified for. How come his good friend Mr. Irving didn't know he was a fake? Where's the investigation of who brought him into government circles? Is there any connection with the business world? Is there any investigation going on at all?

I noticed Brent Mazerolle had a big front page story that on Hallowe'en kids get dressed up and ask for treats.- and another on how good wine tastes in Moncton. Couln't the paper spare him to ask questions and then to write stories on Lac Megantic and Prof. Lapierre?

Who were those paramilitaries at Rexton? Were they RCMP? If so, when did the RCMP develop such a unit? And it there weren't RCMP, what were they? These are surely easy things to check.

The United States, fearinig serious violence and even revolt in its cities, has been "militarizing" its police forces with heavier weaponry. Their new purpose - to fight the American people. Has Harper been copying them?

It's certainly very odd for a paper to call these people paramilitaries - and not say exactly what that means.

Then there was that hate pamphlet about native people circulated by the federal Conservatives. There was no comment on that at all. If it had been a hate pamphlet directed at the corrupting effect of big business, you can bet there would have been a big investigation and a "We say" editorial.

I'm in favour of law and order. I'd like to see some of it.

It's hard to understand all this foofaraw about the Senate and Mike Duffy. Some senators want to vote to kick him out of Senate. They can't. There is no mechanism for kicking out a senator. We can't pass a law now to do so, a nd make it retroactive.

Besides, if senate could do such a thing, I can see a future day under a future Harper when the maority party in Senate  would begin the session by kicking all the opposition out. And, especially under a Harper, I can see the same thing happening in the House of Commons.

Then we have the opposition wasting their time over whether Harper lied to the House about how much he knew of the Duffy affair. Of course, Harper was lying. But it doesn't matter. Lying to the House in a no-no, but not a legal one. It rests on the sense of honour of the liar. Some years ago, a British mp lied to the House about his relationship with a woman, and he lied.

When he was found out, he resigned because that was expected of a man of honour. Harper's big lie was appointing Duffy to the Senate as representative of PEI ini the first place. That is clearly illegal under our constitutional law. He lied when he certified that Duffy met the qualifications.

That's where the whole mess comes from - and illegal appointment by Harper.

Of course, it usually only works on a man of honour. But in this case, in could go to the courts as a legal charge against Harper that the appointment of Duffy was an illegal act.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Oct. 28: Nothing much happened in the world...

An amusement park worker was arrested after three people were hospitalized in North Carolina. The lead iten is that a punk poet died A man was arreseted after a Brooklyn stabbing.

Oh, there were other stories around; but you can't fool an Irving press editor with trivia. So those other stories were left for lesser papers like the New York Times and The Guardian where editors are not so - you know - smart.

For examples of the lesser stories that were beneath the profound concerns of the Irving editorial staff:

Israeli authorities have announced that Iran could have a nuclear bomb in a month. (That's quite a change. For ten years, they've been saying that Iran will have one in three months - so time is running out.) They have also said that, if no-one else acts, they will attack Iran before the month is up. (Yawn. You can't fool TandT news editors. That's not nearly as important as an amusement park worker in North Caroline being arrested.)

Syrian "rebels" (mostly hired terrorists from other countries) are settinig up an extreme Islamist state in northern Syria. It has warm sujpport from our good friends in Saudi Arabia. The US played a major role in starting that civil war and in supplyiing the "rebels". So I guess this counts as another triumph of US diplomacy. But editors have to pick the most important stories; and this one just didn't make it. Instead, there is a gripping account of a house burning down in Oromocto.

In Iraq, 16 were killed in a bombing attack. But this is pretty tame stuff for Iraq, happens every day. But the TandT doesn't report it even when it's a hundred in a day - so why report 16?

You remember Iraq. That is the country that the US attacked for having weapons of mass destruction that it didn't have. It killed a minimum of a half million people with some estimates going far higher to, you know, bring prosperity and democracy. It's now a ghost-nation that will almost certainly collapse soon. There was a war that caused enormous destruction and death, impoverished the country, and cost US taxpayers over a trillion dollars - one of the greatest diplomatic disasters in history. But who wants to disicuss nasty stuff?

That European Union (and most of the world) is discussing the massive phone and computer spying network operated by the US against foreign leaders and foreign business. (And Canada is a partner in this.) Chancellor Merkel of Germany, a close US ally, has learned her phone messages have been recorded for over ten years. And Obama knew it.

Congress is saying little, partly because the industrial part of the spying gives nice congressmen tips on which stocks look good to buy.

Oh, and as the US hold on Africa shows signs of weakening, Russia is moving in to replace it, notably in Egypt. But not in the pages of the TandT. No. It needed the space for a big story about a singer getting arrested for assault in Washington.

A big story for the Business Page, always the dreariest in a dreary paper, is about a dying man who scratched his will on the fender of his tractor. It's important that the business world know about that.
The editorial is about a new store coming to Moncton. Now, that is the sort of story that should have been on the business page. It would still be a pretty lightweight story, but it would make more sense there.

Norbert has a column of genetics. (I believe he studied the subject under prof. Lapierre.) It's all about how there's no such thing as race - which is true enough, but hardly a flash. The real problem is that there is still lots of racism in this world, including right here in Canada. Norbert should have given us an example of racism in Canada. For example, he could have used the example of the pamphlet about native peoples distributed by the likes of Stephen Harper and Robert Goguen.

Alex Bruce has a thoughrul column on the Senate. I'm not sure I agree with him. (And not sure I don't.)  It's nice to see something in the Tand T that's worth thinking about.

Steve Malloy has a well written piece. As usual, it's a seemingly small incident, but one that has larger implicatiions. By the end of it, he was pretty damned mad. And so was I.

There is an intriguing and possibly important point made in a Letter to the Editor about the new, European trade deal. I put it in that way because I'm not yet familiar with the terms of the deal. But I suspect this letter is dead on because what it suggests follows common lines in such deals.

It's called "Trade agreement bad for water?"

It's first point is that supplying the goods in the agreement will make heavy and even impossible demands on our water supply. The second is even worse, much worse.

It effectively privatizes the ownership of water in Canada. This is a common agreement is such deals. When a poverty-stricken country appeals to the World Bank for a loan to build a water supply system because its people are now getting their water from open trenches and other polluted sources, The World Bank frequently insists that the system much be privately owned. ( Of course. The World Bank was established to make money for billionaires, not to help anybody else.)

The result in those countries, commonly, is that the family bill for water exceeds that for food. And the poor are often forced back to the open trenches and polluted streams for their drinkiing water..

The writer's point is that Harper's agreement gives away control of Canada's water. Private, often foreign, companies can use out water as they like, even in ways that are seriously damaging to the environment. And any attempt to stop them or even to regulate the uses of water leads to stunningly expensive law suits. It's a give-away of the most important resource we h ave.

This is a letter that makes a lot of sense. Such clauses are now common in trade agreements, and they very much reflect the greed and irresponsibility of Harper's economic thinking.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Oct. 27: A Sunday Sermonette - sort of -

- but we won't be having any pancake breakfast or pie sale, so it isn't a religious sermonette.

I notice, too, that readership is up today. That's because yesterday was a nice day. Today is a stinker. (That just goes to show how writing a blog can make one cynical.)
But let's talk about law and order. That's been a popular term in discussion lately. We gotta have law and order. We gotta put down violence and disobedience.  Well, yes - sometimes.

There's nothing inherently good in law and order. It simply refers to a society which has laws and which enforces them. That sounds good to you?  Well, you would have loved Stalin's Soviet Union. Stalin made the law. And he kept order with secret police who put people in work camps with no charge or trial. They simply disappeared.

The US is big on law and order. The US has more secret police than Stalin did. And Obama can imprison and even assassinate people with no charge or trial. And he can arbirtrarily submit people, Americans or foreigners, to torture. He does it, too, in the US and all over the world.

In the US, police have such wide powers to enforce the law that they can confiscate private property "on suspicion", and then sell it to anybody they like. In a recent case, police were following a man was was suspected of having marijuana on him. The man went into a diner for a cup of coffee. Police followed hm, then arrested an searched him , finding a couple of marijuana cigarettes in his pocket. Then, with no evidence whatever of any connection between their prisoner and the owner of the diner, they informed the owner they were confiscating his shop, and selling it - "on suspicion".

Now, that's law and order as practiced in dictatorship and in countries, like the US, that have ceased to be democracies. Law and order societies like that usually don't last long. And US leaders know that. That's why police forces have been militarized in weapons and methods - to fight the American people.

Law and order have to be enforced, of course, by violence. But as law and order beccome increasingly harsh, they cannot maintain the level of violence needed to restrain an angry population.

Mind you, the fall of the dictatorship doesn't just automatically fix things. China, under its version democracy, is a dictatoship almost as thorouhgly as Mao's. And Putin of Russia is nobody's poster boy for   democracy.

The form of law and order that seems to work best is that under a real democracy. This means in a system in which the people are involved enough to be informed about what is going on, in which the government is answerable to the people for what it does in honestly informing people about what it is doing.

Alas! New Brunswick comes not even close.

In the first place, corporate leaders, especially Irving, openly interfere in the workings of government. It is no secret, for example,  that corporate bosses chose the official advisors for the minister of finance.

Corporate bosses held a province-wide meeting (they chose who would attend) to plan the economic future of New Brunswick. That's pretty damned arrogant. Why should they get a special voice on our economic future? Corporate leaders have no right to play any role in government except the right that all of us have, to vote for the candidates of our choice.

They are not in partnership with government any more than you and I are.

But in New Brunswick, they openly run the government. The Liberal and Conservative parties are farces. New Brunswick is not a democracy. It's a dictatorship only slightly disguised by pretending that either of those parties actually runs the government.

Then there is the question of the population being adequately informed so they can make intelligent choices. That simply doesn't happen in New Brunswick.

The Liberals and Conservatives lie. They hide information. They manipulate. The minister of something (rexources, I think) said the government had met with native peoples 15 times to give information and to discuss shale gas.

Only an utter fool could believe that.

They gave native peoples information? Then why  the hell didn't they give it to us? They met to discuss with us? Sure. They killed Dr. Cleary's report - with the help of the Irving press which garbled it. Then they hired a crooked academic to cover and pretend there was some respectability to developing shale gas.

That's where dictatorships start to break down. That's where our dictatorship started to break down. That's when native peoples blockaded a road.

There was voilence. Of course. At this point, violence will pop up on both sides - from a citizenry that has  been lied to - and from a government determined to go on lying. And at this level the dictatorship always wins because it has a far greater capacity for violence.

But a dictatorship, no matter how powerful it looks, is always on the edge of a collapse. There is probably no more severe dictatorship in the world than that of Saudi Arabia - but as Gwynne Dyer pointed out in Saturday's paper, Saudi Arabia wants Syria destroyed because it (by Saudi's perverted standards) is too democratic - so it's existence near to Saudi Arabia is a threat.

We have law and order. But not all forms of law and order are good. Some, like the Soviet Union, had been are bad, indeed - and we are in the very bad pile. We need, for a start, honesty in government. And we're not going to find that in either the Liberals or the Conservatives.

We also have to make corporate bosses understand that in a democracy, they are ordinary citizens just like the rest of us.  The alternative?

There are plenty of examples from history. The  bosses become increasingly dictatorial and reliant on violence. Then it collapses, sometimes because the reaction gets so severe, sometimes because of the utter incompetence of business leaders in running a society.

Alas, once it goes that far, nobody can tell how it will work out.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oct. 26: Fear, Hatred and Hysteria

It was just a little story in yesterday's paper, so the the full meaning of it didn't hit me when I read it.

Remember how David Alward said the  blokade at Rexton was an "armed camp"?. Yesterday, the precise number of arms was revealed. It was three guns. Hundreds of people had three guns. And that made it an armed camp.

The people who brought those guns in were, of course, undoubtedly scatterbrained and irresponsible - maybe worse. Had they been even more scatterbrained. they might have used them. With the armament they were facing it was not possible for them to win - and it is almost certain that innocent people would have been killed in the exchange.

In any violent conflict, the side that has the most power and guns almost invariably wins. It's a very foolish person who decides to duke it out with guns when that is the strong point of the other side.

But we began with Alward - and let's stay there. Alward said that the blockade was an armed camp. That's an absurd statement. They had three guns, some knives, and few tin cans with pebbles and explosive in them. It was dangerous and foolish, but scarcely an armed camp. I used to own over thirty guns, a bayonet, a machete, a hunting knife and several penkives. If Rexton was an armed camp, then I was an impregnable fortress.

The effect of Alward's "armed camp" statement was to paint all native peoples as  armd  and violent. (Thouth  there were far more people carrying feathers of peace than carrying guns - and I didn't see any feathers of peace on the government side.)

When Bush wanted to attack Iraq, he worked on stirring  up hatred against Moslems. There were articles in newspapers about how Islam is a religion based on killing ( unlike Christians who have never hurt anybody). For over a dozen years, American propaganda has hammered at hatred for Moslems.

A result of hatred is  fear.

And a result of fear is is hysteria.

With the hysteria, you can destroy the rights of your own people with the excuse that you are defending them,  and so you can illegally invade, bomb, assassinate and torture all over the world. Americans now live under unconstitional confiscation of their rights which their revolution was fought for. Democracy exists only in nenory. Assassination squads (special ops) operate in an extimated 75 to 100 countries around the world. Obama tells them who to kill, and they kill. There are no charges, no trials, and nobody knows how many innocent people are killed.

These 'special ops' are given romantic names like SEALS. But they operate like Murder Inc., a crminal organization in the US which killed on contract. Many of the special ops are former service personell who have signed on with companies that rent themselves out tor killing. The Blackwater agency is one of Obama's favourites. What do you call a man who likes to kill so much that he signs up with private companies to be a murderer?

No, he's not a patriot. Try the words psychopathic killer.

This technique has not been ignored by Harper. He, like many a prime minister before him. is anxious to destroy the very idea of native peoples and their rights. They're in the way of his determination to exploit Canadian resources without regard for damage to the environments or to people.

And so Harper has played with fear, hatred and hysteria. Remember that flyer he prepared which implied all native chiefs were crooked, ane how he intended to crack down on them? It was distributed by his local messenger boys like Robert Goguen.

Fear, hatred and hysteria. Stir those those up, and you can get away with - well - with murder.

That's what Alward was doing though, in fairness, I don't think Alward realized it. (He is the Elmer Fudd of Canadian politics.)

As usual, there wasn't much in the Irving press about anything - except that East Side Mario's will soon be reopening.

There is a teeny, tiny story on D 3 that an earthquake in Japan did not create the Tsunami that was feared all over the world. (except in NB which didn't know about it.) A major Tsunami would have hit a nuclear power plant near Tokyo which is already in ruins, already poisoning the land , the ocean, and almost impossible to fix.

As it is, the ruined plant has been leaking huge quantities of readioactive water in the Pacific for two years. As a result, come Asian countries have banned the import of Japanese fish. Indeed, water, fish and seaweed have been massively affected - and the radioactive water will reach BC in 2014. It will remain radioactive for so many thousands of years that the precise number doesn't matter.

Unless we can get that ruined plant dismantled soo, there sill be a tsunami - and that will trigger the biggest nuclear catastrophe ever known.
Researchers have learned that the eastern Arctic has reached its highest temperatures in a 120,000 years. The change is so unusual that the researchers say it can be explained only by greenhouse gasses from our use of fossil fuel. So let's do our bit, and keep pumping out that that oil. Duh, it'll create jobs.
There was a world report on the gender gap around the world. It compares countries, looking for the persence of women in buisness, politics, in access to employment and leadership.

The US ranked 21st in the world. (isn't it terrible the way those Moslems suppress women?) I haven't found where Canada is yet - but it's not in the top ten. The leaders were Scandinavian countries. Nicaraugua beat us, too.

But none of this made the Irving press.
So, is there anything worth reading in the Irving press? I mean, apart from the big story that Macdonsld's isn't going to use Heinz  ketchup any more? And there's the curious claim that Alward devoted 15 months of talks about shale gas to native leaders. Heck, even Alward didn't say that. He said 15 talks.

And I bet they were both honest and helpful, like the talks Alward set up (for a very few of us) with prof. Lapierre. Our government is a proven liar and manipulator.  He constantely lied to us and manipulated us through a lying press.  Why should we believe he hosted talks for native leaders          that were either honest or informative?
But there is an excellent column by Gwynne Dyer on chemical weapons in Syria, probably the best column I have ever  seen on that situation.

The weekly sermonette has a good headline. But nothing else. However, there is a tremendous breakthrough in religious thought at St. Martins  in - the-woods. Turning their backs on the earthly frivolity  of pancake breadfasts and Roast beef   dinners,  the Anglicans have risen, and  shaken off the dust of centuries. They are going to have a goose supper.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Oct. 25: there are two...

count them, two important and well reported stories in Section A. (Okay. It's not great. But it's two more than usual.)

One is actually on page 1, "Chief calls for consent." It is an account of statements made by  Chief Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations. The reporter is Brent Mazerolle; and it's a model of good reporting. There is no sign of bias in it. (There is a statement from Alward criticizing Atleo; but there's nothing wrong with having a few lines from the other side.)

Atleo makes two points. One is the frustration and growing anger among first nations at the failure of more than a century of Canadian governments to deal with native rights. The other is the potential dangers of such anger when native peoples are thrust into confrontations for lack of early consultation, lack of consent, and lack of honest information.

You know what he means - lying newspapers, refusal to even consider dropping undesirable projects, bullying, ignoring the legal rights of native peoples. (the latter sentence is mine. Mazerolle did not say it. And that's as it should be since Atleo didn't say it directly. I mention that as an example of good reporting by Mazerolle. The TandT is more commonly fond of inserting such opinion into its news stories.)

The other good and important story is by Adam Huras on p. A 11. He reports on former prime minister Paul Martin making similar statements to those of Atleo. This is particularly interesting because Martin makes reference to useful programmes he had prepapred for native peoples, and which Harper cancelled. (I had not known about those programmes. It would be interesting to see another and more detailed account of them.)


As for NewsToday, news happened only in Canada and Calfornia. The rest of the world was quiet with nothing happening.

In La Rosa California, a teen age boy was shot when he pointed a realistic looking assault rifle at police. We needed to know that.

On p. C3, there's a big story from one of our own senators, John Wallace, that the Senate has to make a decision in its scandal cases. Gee! Who woulda guessed?

Excellent column by Alec Bruce. It's about the Senate scandal One, little complaint. It's, quite rightly, hard on senators Duffy and Wallin - and only gently hinting at criticism of Harper. But it looks as though Harper is quite likely the central figure in all this - and a dishonest and manipulating prime minister is a whole lot worse that a few, thieving senators.

Norbert has his standard column on our budget deficits. Tax the poor. Cut services to the general population in such areas as education and health. He doesn't even mention the very rich and the big corporations and their role in creating such a deficit.

If we had a rash of bank robberies, Norbert's solution would be to tax the depositors to make up the loss.

On op ed, Robert Goguen gets his undies all in a sweat over the excitement of  Moncton  becoming the centre for the export of fish to Europe. I see no strong reason to believe that will happen. But by the time we know, the election will be over.

But Goguen is certainly a talented man. - introduces people at barbecues, gets his picture taken with famous people that nobody knows - and - writes commentaries for big time newspapers like the TandT.

Meanwhile, there is, there really is, a world beyond beyond Canada and even beyond La Rosa, California - and it looks bloody ominous.

The US, far, far the greatest (and most expensive) military power in the world,  cannot win wars. Iraq. taken with the killing of - at the lowest, credible estimate - a half million people - mostly civilians, is close to ungovernable, and has largely been abandoned by the US. Libya is in chaos. Afghanistan was long ago lost. The US is also fighting illegal wars in such places as Yemen and Somalia with heavy destruction of civilian life - and with the net effect of creating more enemy terrorists every day.

Nor is this new. It has been the pattern of American wars since Vietnam. The greatest military power in history cannot defeat tiny and poor states despite killing ruthlessly using bombs, chemicals, drones. It's only real victory since 1945 was the conquest of the small island of Grenada. The power is there. The ruthlessness is there. But all that power and ruthlessness can only destroy. It cannot conquer.

The war in Syria was begun by the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Each had its own motives. For Saudi Arabia, the most bestial and powerful dictatorship in the world (and close friend to the US), it was to destroy a government that, by Saudi standards, was far too progressive and democratic and secular and, therefore, a bad example for the hyper-Moslem Saudi government.

It is now furious that the US is not bombing Syria. In the case of Iran, in which the Saudis and the Israelis are in close agreement, the Saudis want the destruction of Iran because it is Sunni - the wrong brand of Islam (as is Syria). The rulers of Saudi Arabia are notoriously religious fanatics.

Israel want Iran's destruction, not because it could be a nuclear threat - that is nonsense. But Israel wants military domination of the whole region.

North Africa and the middle east have been made a chaos by the US without, in any way, benefitting the US or the region. As well, the US is conducting an unknown number of secret wars all over Africa in an attempt to control the African economies. What it has done, instead, is to create a dangerous instability across the continent.

I think it very unlikely there will be an lasting peace established with Iran. The US really doesn't want it. Nor do Israel or Saudi Arabia. And a war with Iran forces Russia and China into the picture.

The US also has hundreds of bases in the Pacific, mostly aimed at China. The US cannot win a conventional war against a peasantry in Afghanistan. Indeed, it's whole military history for the last fifty years has been a history of expensive disasters.

Fortunately, China is no military threat at all with it's weak and neglected military technology. However, the US could very well stumble into a war with China - and it has bases and fleets in the area for just that reason. So how could it fight a winning war (when the American nation no stomach left for even small wars)?

The answer is obvious - a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

There's a lot happening in the world beyond Riverview. We get almost no news about it and only a weekly column by Gwynne Dyer to help us understand some bit of it.

The world is in on hell of an unstable and frightening condition. And how it turns out will affect even us. But most of what we get is mindless drivel by the likes of Norbert Cunningham and  Robert Goguen.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Oct. 24: Oh, grow up...

Today's editorial is, I am sure, a sincere one. That's why is so disheartening to see it is also such a childish one.

The editorial writer is disgusted that a political party, the Green Party, has called for an inquiry into the RCMP action in Rexton. In its thrilling and exciting sub heading "We Say" (as if anybody gives a damn what they say) "Call for inquiry implies serious, unfounded allegations against RCMP."

No, it doesn't, you twit. Inquiry is common after major events. Even choirs of guitarists who sing through their noses have inquiries after concerts to deteremine what worked well,and what didn't.

As well, a national authority on such police action, one who knows even more about it than the editorial writer of an Irving newspaper, has already raised questions about the action.

And the leader of the Green Party, it says, should follow the examples of Mr. Alward and Mr. Gallant. Right. We need more stuffed shirts in New Brunswick.

In the military, there are inquiries into even the most successful actions to see what can be learned from them. And those continue for centuries by military historians. There is nothing unusual, nothing that implies allegations serious or otherwise. I should be astonished if the RCMP has not already begun its own inquiry.

In this case, an astonishing feature was the appearance of men in combat gear, carrying military semi-automatics. We don't even know who they are because TandT reports have never made that clear.

What an ignorant and self-righteous editorial! What we really need is a much broader enquiry. What role did Mr. Alward's clumsy handling play in the outbreak of violence? What about all the lies that appeared in the Irving press on the subject of shale gas? What about the failure of the Irving press and Mr. Alward to provide us with information? What about the very, very suspicious case of prof. Lapierre? What about the ignoring and discrediting the Dr. Cleary report?

In the longer view, that violence was not caused by either protestors or police. It was caused by incompetent, dishonest, lying, manipulating politicians and journalists - acting to kiss up to their bosses in the world of big business.

Norbert presents yet another ignorant but arrogant solution to all our problems - all of it based on things he knows nothing about.

For openers, and despite Norbert's claim, humanity is not all the same. Certrainly, there is no (or very little) difference between us racially. But there are huge differences socially. The family in China, for example, is a far more important unit than it is in Canada.

And, if Norbert is going to say that we all have great similarities to each other (which we do), then he might note that we are in many respects like the Nazis under Hitler. Indeed, there are few atrocities in history to match the American slaughter in Vietnam. We are, all of us, then, both good guys and bad guys.

Norbert also ignores a central point. Native people in Canada are legally entitled to certain rights because we live on land we took from them - and in exchange, we signed treaties giving them rights - and not a bad deal considering the comparison between what we got and what they got.

Norbert's policy is essentially assimilation. It has failed for over two centuries - some would say over four centuries.

Norbert is fond of adding "The Last Word", some wise-sounding saying he digs up for each column. These are often quite silly, and really have nothing to do with his column. Today, it's somebody who said if you treat people nicely, they'll be nice. If you treat them badly, they'll be bad. Now, what the hell does that mean?

In the context of this column, it can only mean that native peoples are bad. But if we treat them better, they'll be nice.  (Oh, that Mr. Cunningham is so smart.)

Most bothersome in this whole affair has been the treatment of the Cleary Report by the government and the Irving press.

The report was mangled, quite deliberately, when Dr. Cleary first delivered it. It was then ignored when she won a national award for it. At the same time, an academic fraud who has long been of service to the Irvings was brought in to discredit her report - though even his claimed credentials would not have qualified him for that.

He was discovered (though not by the government or the Irving Press) to have lied about his training. That left everyhing said, promised,  hinted by government, press and the shale gas companies lying in shreds on the floor.

Look, you lying wretches. With the exposure of prof. Lapierre as your patsy, that means there has been only one, independent,  scientific report by a qualified scientist ever done on the shale gas issue in New Brunswick. NOBODY has ever proven that report to be wrong. And it says this is one dangerous idea.

I wish I could follow the advice of Norbert's quotation, and talk to you liars and hypocrites as if you were nice people to that you would become nice. But Norbert's quotations are as silly and feather-headed as he is.

You ignored the Cleary report. You didn't prove it wrong - because you couldn't. So you ignored it, and you found a fraud artist to cover up. But now he's been discovered. And you still ignore the Cleary Report.

What caused the violence at Rexton? It was the shale gas companies, the Irving ownership of all the newspapers, the complicity of the Liberal and Conservative parties and their utter failure to show any leadership - or honesty - or character - or even basic intelligence.

There is NO scientific evidence that shale gas is good for us or even harmless. We Do have the evidence that it is extremely dangerous. And you refuse to even mention it.

This is one hell of a display of greed, indifference, lack of leadership, and quite disgusting journalism.
Rod Allen talks about Rod Allen. He thinks we care.

Interesting column by Beth Lyons on abortion. In fact, abortion has been common for centuries, even in New Brunswick, usually at great risk to the women having them. It was (quitely) accepted as early as the 1870s with drug store sales  of a drug said to deal with "female" irregularity. When I first saw those ads, I assumed they meant that female irregularity was different from male irregularity. Actually, it was a "respectably" discreet ad for an abortion drug.

I know of no evidence that the banning of medical abortions will make any significant change in the rate of abortion.  However, if it will make you feel better, toss a buck in the collection basket. It's cheaper than being a real Christian.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Oct. 23: Enforce the law!

Damn right. Enforce the law! That's why we should be closely examining the oil train accident that killed 47 people in Lac Megantic.

That's why Professor Lapierre should be facing charges for accepting payment under false pretences - as in his years of university teaching and in his special contracts. And, if there are people implicated as, for example, government or business people who knew of his false pretences then they, too, should face charges.

Mind you, I don't want to pick on anybody. Now you take Mr. Irving. He seems to have been a strong advocate of prof. Lapierre. He donated the money that gave the prof the Irving Chair in Ecology at U de M. Giving the money for a chair is a pretty big deal, leading one to expect a pretty thorough study of credentials for a donating  such a chair. So it's a little bit difficult for one to understand how such a donation could be made to a quite unqualified person. They most do some pretty lax checking at Irving industries.

So any ciminal examination of prof. Lapierre would require a close examination of precisely how the donation was made - and why.

It's important to enforce the law.

Norbert believes in enforcing the law - but only sometimes.

On native peoples, for example, he would simply fall back on an old formula that has been followed by every Canadian government since John A.  That is, he recommends completely ignoring all our obligations under treaties we signed (which means ignoring the law) and making native peoples just like all the rest of us. That, for example, is why Harper is taking over control of native education.

It's been done, Norbert. And, apart from being illegal,  it's never worked.

The reason it doesn't work is that, contrary to what Norbert says, all people are not the same. I don't mean that they have racial differences. I mean they have social differences.

A poor child going to school often does poorly. A rich one often does well. Jewish and oriental children will often do better than Christians and westerners. This has nothing to do with race; it has to do with religious values, social expectations, self-confidence....

It's not the schools, Norbert. In the US, white and African-Americans have been going to the same school systems for well over a century. African-Americans are still far poorer, less represented in skilled jobs, and have a stunningly high presence in prisons.

Much of the turmoil and suffering in the middle east and Africa and, to this day, in Central America, has been due to our interference in existing social systems. Islam did not create terrorism. We introduced them to it, and our behaviour has made it worse. That's what happens when you disrupt a social system.

As to your simplistic view of law, would you obey a law that forced you to live on food you thought was poisonous?  Law should never be thought of as forcing people to do things against their own interests. In Germany, it was once law to turn yourself in if you were Jewish. Would you rant at those who disobeyed that law?

Native peoples don't want shale gas. They think it's poisonous. Think, Norbert. The purpose of law is to protect us. It is not to force us to do what the very rich want us to do.

As to your headline, "special status" has not failed. In fact, it has never been tried. Read some history, Norbert. Your suggeston of "getting everyone in the same boat" has been tried for over a century. It hasn't worked.

It has possibilities, though. Why not tell the Irvings to go live on native reserves, and to send their children to the local schools?

Norbert is going to write another column on the subject tomorrow. Lord love a duck.

The editorial, of course,is  respect the rule of law. Yep. Respect the rules that are made by the rich to benefit themselves. In fact, even the editor can't really believe that. If he did, he'd be raising hell about the lack of progress in investigating Lac Megantic, at the utter refusal to investigate prof. Lapierre. And he'd be furious and the US and at us for flagrant defiance of international law in illegal invasions of countires, the overthrow of governments as in Haiti, the use of chemical weapons as in Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan. And the very wide use of torture -  including in US penitentiaries.
Read the op ed page for important advice on how to feed a baby. Take the writer seriously. He's a reporter for the TandT.So he knows things.

 Below him, Brian Cormier writes a fascinating story of how he's trying to decide between renovating and moving.. The news you need to know. Thatnks to both writers for helping to better understand the world we live in.

NewsToday is a whole page of fast-breaking stories such as "New N.S. premier, cabinet, sworn in." and "Minister expects balanced budget/" It's only one page since nothing happened in the rest of the world.

Except for a couple of stories, Section A is a sleeping pill.

I would suggest, though, that readers check Youtube for videos of the police actions at Rexton. The videos(which the police tried to stop) tell rather a different story about what happened. Far from marching on "warriors" ,the police were marching on women, some kneeling on the road and holding up feathers. They got pepper sprayed.

The 'paramilitaries" were working with the police-as were security guards (which strikes me as extremely unwise since  security guards commonly have little training).
As for the paras, they were very heavily armed with army rifles, semi-automatics with 40 shot magazines. That's not a weapon to move a crowd back. It's only function is mass and indiscriminate slaughter. The militarization of the police in uniforms and weaponry is a very worrying development in a democractic society. This is exactly what has been  happening in the US where police are being redesigned to fight the general population. This is what a police state is.

Norbert, yesterday, said he was impressed with the courage of the police (an army of them and all armed) marching on the protestors. I was more impressed by the courage of those women who knelt on the road, and who faced the pepper spray.

So far, that scattering of  crude, even antiquated, weapons that the police have shown to the papers is a long, long way down from the firepower I saw on the police side.


The law was enforced in Hitler's Germany and in Stalin's USSR. It is enforced in the US where people can be jailed indefinitely with no charge and no trial. The law is enforced in Saudi Arabia where women are whipped for minor offences

Enforcement of the law is not always "a good thing".

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oct. 22: The importance of editors

In the news business, the editor is the key person. Editors are the ones who mold kids out of journalism schools into real reporters. Editors are the ones who select which stories are the ones that are important. Editors are the ones who make sure that each story gives the average reader enough information to make it understandable. The editor has a breadth of knowledge that gives him a background when he writes a comment column - like an editorial. And an editor has the wisdom to know when he doesn't know enough to write on some subjects.

But not at the Irving press.

In that press, the editors accept the boss' rules. Nothing embarassing for the boss is to be printed.  Nothing that disagress with the boss is to be printed. Propaganda and outright lies are always welcome. And triviality is good because it means nothing, and so offends nobody.

No serious journalist would accept an editorial position at the Irving press.


Imagine if Irving head offices in Portland, Maine, were occupied by protestors supporting those at Rexton. (There is a great deal of opposition to the Irvings in the state of Maine. That's because they behave in Maine as if it were New Brunswick - and nobody likes to be treated the way New Brunswickers are.)

Imagine if the US were caught listening in to phone calls, hacking government and private computers, and generally spying on France and Mexico so blatantly that the presidents of Mexico and France make official complaints to Obama.

Suppose a recent report said that environmental scientists working for the federal government as well as those dependent on government subisidies live in a state of fear because they are not allowed to reveal any of their findings to anybody without government permission - and that permission is hard to get.  Harper keeps an iron control over what we are allowed to know - even when research is funded by our taxes, and when the findings may be crucial to our futures.

Well, imagine no more. All of those things happened yesterday, and not one made the Irving press. Howevr, "Food writer loves taste of Moncton" rated first page treatment.

The editorial writer praises the RCMP for its skill in stopping the Rexton blockade. I wonder how many blockades that editor has put an end to. I wonder if he (or she - nah, it's gotta be a he; the Irving press isn't big on female editors.) - so I wonder if he has ever even read something about it. Almost certainly not.

There was a news item just yesterday that Canada's leading authority on the use of police force said this case was NOT handled well. But I'll bet the writer of that editorial doesn't even know that there are such things are authorities on crowd control.

Norbert, as usual, foams at the mouth with his usual prejudice, even bigotry, and ignorance, He exalts the virtues of obedience to the law, seeing this as the key to civilized society. My, I should love to see Norbert's articles condemning the American and French revolutions, and condemning George Washington as an  unlawful protestor. This would no doubt be a much better world if the US were still a British colony, and France a kingdom under the Bourbons. And, certainly, the world would be much better off if Russia were still ruled by a Stalin.

And there's nothing more annoying than those damn women in Saudi Arabia protesting and demanding the right to drive, and the right not to be beaten by their husbands.

Norbert, we live in a world created by protestors. If there were no protestors, we wouldn't have democracy. We wouldn't have newspapers because we would be allowed to get information. If there were no protestors, we wouldn't have any civil rights at all. And we'd still have slavery.

Ever heard of Magna Carta? That was forced on King John by protesting lords.

Try to understand Norbert. Law and order, while necessary, are there because they are useful to the people who have power. Law and order in the US meant using electric cattle prods on African-Americans who protested against their status. Law and order in Canada means stealing native land, sticking them on reserves, and then ignoring them.

There were protesters in Nazi Germany who tried to help Jews. And, I suppose there were Nazi Norberts who wrote bitter columns about them. (Incidentally, law and order was the justification for Canada TO REFUSE to help German Jews from the 1930s until the very late 1940s. It was also the justification for putting innocent Japanese-Canadians into prison camps during World War Two, and then confiscating and selling their homes and all their possessions.)

Necessary change comes from those protestors you so much dislike. But you're not a protestor, are you, Norbert? Of course not. You like a province owned by a family that also owns the two, major political parties. And why not? Getting all those free scraps from their table has served you well.

Oh, Norbert also says "protestors and civil disobience have been tolerated for two years,...."  Tolerated? Norbert - protest is a right. Can you understand that? It is not something to be tolerated. We have a right to be protest.

And protesters, h e says, made no attempt to use democratic channels. Norbert - what the hell democratic channels are you talking about? That government which is owned by big business? The newspapers which are owned by big business? A spokesman like you who is owned by big business?

And tell me what democratic channels were followed by the shale gas industry. Tell me all about how they have been completely open and democratic.

Then Norbert calls the protestors fascists. Norbert, you don't have a clue what the word fascist means. Here's a hint. When a big businessman writes to a newspaper to announce he is now a member of the government (without being elected), that is fascism. That is a real meaning of the word.

Then he quotes an  "expert" Christy Blatchford (a journalist from the same kennel as Norbert) of The National Post that the majority of residents of Elsipogtog get more welfare than other recipients.

Norbert, that is a disgusting statement. Given the levels of welfare they get, that still keeps them well below the big recipients of welfare in Rothesay. You use poverty as an excuse to condemn people. They have lost everything - and they now get bare, subsistence living.

It gets worse. It becomes an accusation that some of them just want money. Possibly so. What the hell do you think SWN is there for? And if you criticize these poor people for wanting money, how about taking a swipe at your boss who makes truckloads of money out of such things as overpriced ice-breakers.

This is the most ignorant and vile newspaper column I have ever seen. And we can be quite sure that Norbert would never say such things about his boss.

Law and order can be very desirable. But any law and order eventually becomes abusive and counter-productive. It also is used to prevent essential change. That's why protestors are essential to a healthy society. Ignorant and bigoted columnists are not.

Well, I spent more time on Norbert than I meant to. And there's more to say. But for those who like the Irving press, for its normal emptiness and triviality, I recommend the op ed page column by Alan Cochrane. He's an editor, too.

There's an excellent Letter to the Editor   (but not, blessedly, by an editor). It's "Canada's failing grade in education investment".

Oh, an afterthought. I said a newspaper story should give us enough info to get the fullest possible meaning of it. P. A3 has a story that doesn't meet that requirement. It's really an ad "Speaker to discuss Middle East". The speaker is sponsored by Jewish Federations of Canada, and works for public radio in Israel. Here's what it doesn't tell you.

Judaism has a tradition of community groups that offer help, encourage discussion and learning, do youth work - a tradition far stronger than anything I have seen among Christian churches.

However, the behaviour of the Israeli government has created a sharp split among North American Jews. The majority support Israel no matter what it does - killing Palestinians, stealing land, deporting arab citizens.....

That majority, working in conjunction with the Israeli government, have taken control of most of those community groups, and uses them to lobby governments and spread propaganda for the Israeli government.

Many other Jews, though they support the state of Israel, are very much opposed to its government. There outlets are organizaations such as Jews for Peace in the Middle East.

In the US, Jewish Federations of the US has turned against the Israel government (though not against Israel.) It still continues with a community focus on helping Jews in the US and in Israel.

The Jewish Federations of Canada have gone in the opposite direction, acting as a propaganda arm of the Israeli government. Since the speaker on this occasion also works for government in Israel, I would guess that this speech will be heavily biased.

Oh - I'm not an anti-semite. In fact, most North American Jews are not semites in the first place. Palestinians are semites. Many arab peoples are semites. Most Jews are not.

But the TandT probably doesn't have an editor who knows any of that.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oct. 21: Alec Bruce's column is brilliant...

This must be the first column I have seen in the Irving press that has a sense of the whole story - in this case, of the violence at Rexton. This is really quite exceptional, and captures points the reporters, for the most part, have missed. And, certainly, the editors have missed these points entirely.

There's also another good column by Steve Malloy who,  as always, can take what seems a small and local matter, and bring us to realize the greater implications of it. Well done.

Now, let me make myself unpopular.


Legal is not the same as right. Illegal is not the same as wrong.

It was perfectly legal in Guatemala for the CIA and the Guatemala government to murder a quarter million native peoples in order force the survivors to accept lives as unspeakably cheap labour in the mines. It was legal for the mining companies to poison the land and waters as much as they liked. It was legal to murder Mayans who tried to stop them.

In Canada, it was quite legal to confiscate native lands. It was legal to kill native peoples who objected. It was legal for the Canadian government to deliberately starve plains native peoples to death. It was legal to forcibly take native children from their homes, and to place them in brutal, residential schools. And, certainly, it seems always to have been legal for Canadian governments to ignore their treaty obligations to native peoples.

It was all legal. But none of it was right.

To get closer to home, it was legal for shale gas companies to make sweetheart deals with the New Brunswick governments to carry out exploration anywhere they liked, and without informing anybody of what it was all about.

It was legal for New Brunswick governments not to bother to tell us what was going on or to seek out opinion. It was legal for the Irving press to keep mum about it for years and then, when the story got out, anyway, it was quite legal for Irving press to become a propaganda organ and, frequently, a liar for the shale gas industry.

Apparently, it must also have been legal for a professor to lie about his credentials for years and, based on those lies, to accept government positions that involved the safety and even the lives of New Brunswickers. Certainly, he has suffered no legal consequences for what is surely a criminal offence.

Well, it must have been legal because I've never seen men with visors aiming pepper spray at Mr. Irving, Mr. Alward, the shale gas executives, or any of those people who have betrayed all of us.

In an aside, there also seems to be a grey area in the law. I should have thought it would be illegal to ship a highly volatile oil in tank cars not designed for it, to file a false report of what kind of oil was being shipped, and then to run it into a town, killing 47 people.

But, apparently, not so.

Right and wrong concern moral values, the way our behaviour affects others.

Legal and illegal sometimes concern moral values, too - as in laws against theft, recklessness, assault....  But legal and illegal often, and far too often, concern only the interests of those who have the power to make and unmake the laws.

Nobody was killed at Rexton. But, oh, we have lots and lots of news about it and lots of legal action. Forty-seven were killed at Lac Megantic. The story was good for two days in the Irving press - with no mention whatever of the legal and moral aspects of it.

None of this has been been hinted in the Irving press.

As well, something else has not been looked at.

The New Brunswick government issued licenses to shale gas companies years ago with virtually no public discussion. Right up to Alward, no government has made no attempt at an honest explanation of the issues. Nor have the shale gas companies.

In particular, no attempt was made to talk to native peoples BEFORE they became alarmed. Fracking trucks just appeared on the roads.

Even in a province in which the arrogance of big business is legendary, this was an arrogance over the top. Mr. Irving and others wanted to explore for shale gas. They completely ignored all the people of New Brunswick. Their trained politicians did the same. Mr. Alward is now having talks with native leaders? Sure. After years of doing nothing, and a  month of confrontation with native peoples, he decides to talk. You wretched little man, Mr. Alward. The talks should have begun years ago, BEFORE there was a confrontation.

There should also have been honest information from the newspapers owned by your boss.

Who created this crisis? You did, Mr. Alward, you and Shawn Graham and those before who arrogantly allowed this proposal to go forward without giving a damn what people thought.

You made it worse, Mr. Alward, by rudely, ignorantly and ruthlessly pushing aside the only professional advice you had - the report from Dr. Cleary.  Your boss killed the report in his newspapers. And then you and, probably, your boss, hired a fraud who had been useful to you in the past to counter Dr. Cleary's report.

The action in this story is not the violence though, so far, violence is all the news media have been talking about. That violence has so far been minor. No. The real story is the arrogance, the greed, and the stupidity of those who think they can subvert the normal processes of government, pass laws that benefit only themselves, run the province without even getting elected, use newspapers to lie, and to assume it is all part of God's great plan for them to rule our society.

The stupidity is that they don't have the faintest idea of how to run a society. They aren't running it now. They're destroying it. That's what happens when we get the silly idea that what is legal is necessarily what is right.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Oct. 20: just a few thoughts on a Sunday...

I'm still bothered by a statement that appeared in the TandT two days ago, the day Rexton made world news. It referred to certain, heavily-armed people there as para-militaries.

Now, it is a safe bet that most people don't know what a para-military is, and a safer bet that nobody knows what the TandT means by a paramilitary. Will the TandT please tells us what a para-military is in its definition? Does it mean hired mercenaries? Does it mean SWN security? Does it refer to a special branch of the RCMP? It's important to know because all of the above definitions raise serious problems.

(There's also something comic about men wearing macho camouflage outfits. The idea of camouflage is to help you to blend into the background. But the colours of these outfits actually make them stand out.)

If it means hired mercenaries, this is one hell of a radical departure for Canadian policing. If those men had used their weapons, there would have been a mass slaughter at Rexton, and a quite indiscriminate one. So, if they were hired mercenaries, what special training did they have to act with restraint and judgement?

And what was the point of arming them with what appear to be military semi-automatics? Wasn't that more than a little over the top for the situation?

If they were mercenaries, should we be hiring such people at all?

Were they security guards for SWN? If so, what the hell were they doing taking part in a police operation? We have police to control public disorder, not to take sides in it. And who on earth gave anybody the right to arm security guards with such heavy weaponry?

Were they from a special branch of the RCMP? If so, who's bright idea was it to turn the RCMP back to its nineteenth century origins as a military force. The role of police is to enforce the law, not to conquer. And you are still left with the awkward question of why they were so heavily armed.

Oh, I know. I know. Mr. Alward says the native peoples were an armed camp, and the police issued a general description of their weaponry. But there are two problems with that. One is that the police could not have known about the weaponry since it was not discovered until after they advanced.

The other problem is the general statement that they had guns and blades and bombs.

What kind of guns? How many? It makes a difference. Two guns is bad - but short of an "armed camp".  Blades could mean anything. I don't know how many times I 've had to turn over to airport security guards my fingernail clippers.

It's the job of a reporter get specific information, and not just to accept vague statements. It's the job a reporter to know the meanings of words like "para-militaries", and to make those meanings clear to readers.

If those were really para-militaries at Rexton, then that is one hell of a dangerous development in Canadian law enforcement. I wold expect it to happen in a police state like the US, but not here.

On a lighter note is the story that Saudi Arabia has refused to accept a seat on the UN security council because, it says, the UN is useless in defending human rights. It gives as an example the failure of the UN to intervene in Syria on the side of the rebels in that country's civil war.

It also is a good example of why the news doesn't really tell the news.

Rule no. 1 of understanding world affairs - no country gives a damn about anybody else's human rights. If a country goes to war on the excuse that it is defending human rights, it's lying to cover its real reason - which is usually plunder.

Remember how we got sucked into sending "peacekeeprs" to Haiti?  Far from protecting human rights of Haitians, we were there to destroy them. The elected President of Haiti was arrested and exiled because he was doing terrible things like building schools and hospials, and trying to raise wages above the normal five dollars a day - and taxing honest billionaires who owned factories in Haiti.

But our peacekeepers fixed that. Now, Haitians get less than five dollars a day, tens of thousands still live under canvas while more live in some of the world's worst slums. And there's no more silly talk about sending children to school. No. Let the little bastards work at pennies a day. And taxes on billionaires? Forget it.

When we read news, we get an account of what has happened. But it very seldom tells us why it happened. Often, it can't - because news has to be fact, and the why part is often opinion. That's why a good newspaper has opinion columns written by knowledgeable people. --while the TandT sin opinion columns with stories about how the writer had a doggie woggie when he was a little boy. Others, with a few but honourable exceptions, are no opinions at all, but the propaganda the owner of the Irving press wants us to believe.

In the case of Saudi Arabia as the great defender of human rights, it is a dictatorship in which human rights do no exist. It certainly has given support to the rebels in Syria. Indeed, along with the US and Turkey, Saudi Arabia started that war in the first place. But it never had anything to do with human rights. They wanted the Syrian president out of the way because he was too independent.

As  for the rebels, most have no interest whatever in human rights. Most are not even Syrians. They are mercenaries (para-militaries) hired, trained and armed by Saudi Arabia, the US, and other freedom-lovers.

That's what is really happning is Syria. Saudi Arabia and the US and a few others,  have created a war that has killed over 200,000 people. Think about it. If anyone wanted to improve human rights in Syria, should killing ever more by the best way to do it?

So far, there have been three flaming wrecks of CNR trains carrying dangerously inflammable material. But don't worry. CNR execs assure us they have an excellent safety record. And oil company execs assure us that it's perfectly safe to transport flammable materials by rail.

So that's okay.

CNR, by the way, was created out of a number of bankrupt private railways in Canada at the end of World War One. If was privatized in 1995 because private business is so much better than the government at running these things.

So that's okay, too.

What to watch for at Rexton?

Alward is going to play the money card. He knows quite well that SWN will not stop its operations there. And Alward bears no resemblance to the St. George who slew the dragon.

But the native peoples are not in this for money. That've been clear from the start.

Nor are they simply rowdies out there to make trouble. They are concerned about their lives and their children's lives. And they're showing tremendous courage in standing up to bullies in the oil industry and government. One could wish that more people in this province had as much concern for their families, and as much courage to defend them from bullies.

But, duh, there could be jobs in it.

People like Irving - and his politicians  - have always believed that money is the bottom line, the only bottom line. It's not. Even if Alward can manage  to shove through a money setttlement, that won't end the problem. These people want control of their own lives. And, unlike too many of us, that control is not for sale.

You know, I suspect that some people look at the religious rituals of native people, at the use of fire and tobacco, and the holdinig up of feathers, and they think - how primitive, how crude, how silly..."

Maybe. But I could wish our Christian churches would take a break from their pie sales and pancake breakfasts to live their faith as the native peoples have at Rexton.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Oct. 19: decent reporting...

...lousy editing...

As a day's newspaper rolls out, editors (are supposed to) look it over, see if the stories have any areas that still aren't sufficiently explained, then go over it with reporters to be covered in their assignment for next day.

I really don't know whether the editors at Irving press are lazy, or terrified of saying something that might offend Mr. Irving, or whether they're just plain thick. But I have never seen evidence they examine the stories at all.

There were obvious questions left after yesterday's story.
1. What started the violence? Yesterday's story said it began when police manhandled a native chief. Today's story says it started because, as Alward is quoted, the protesters were an armed camp.

Those are quite different versions. And they raise another question. How did the police know it was an armed camp when they didn't find those weapons until AFTER their advance on the protesters?

This is not to criticize anybody on either side. The point is we need to know exactly what started it That's important to the story. And, after two days, we still don't know.

2. Yesterday's story carried pictures of men dressed in military-style camouflage, and carrying combat rifles. They were described as para-militaries who were working with the police..

What is a paramilitary? Very-roughly, it is a person who is armed and (perhaps) trained for military combat, but does not fight for his national army. They are normally mercenaries who will fight for whoever pays them. And, as one might guess, the proportion of psychopathic killers among them is very high. The US rents hundreds of thousands of them from companies that deal in such things.

But I have never heard of paramilitaries being used in Canada or, for that matter, within the US. Obviously, it's in bad taste to turn killers loose on your own people.And their rifles not only have a high rate of fire, but use a light bullet at high speed which is unstable when it hits, creating more damage and more deaths than the rifles of World War Two. We are very lucky that nobody was killed by them.

So - who were these para-militaries? Where they contracted foeeign mercenaries? Or did the writer just not know what a para-military is?

And why was such a deadly group mixed with police to deal with a riot?  Editors whould have picked up on that. They didn't. That's why we have news today that tells us no more than the news did yesterday.

As well, the paper still gives us no insight into the background and the ramifications of that violence.
The closest it comes is a column by Michael Woloschuk in NewsToday. He, at least, shows an awareness of how this all goes back centuries to the earliest contact, and the shattering experience of being overwhelmed by an alien society. It's an experience that most of us can't even begin to understand.

And it was made worse, far worse, by our abuse and murder. That last native person in Newfoundland died over a hundred and fifty years ago. Many fell victim to tuberculosis, but many also died simply of murder with a bounty paid for each one.

Native people were deliberately starved to death on the plains, and everywhere saw their traditional economies made impossible as they were forced onto reserves. Then there was the mental, physical and sexual abuse of the residential schools. At no point in that whole, wretched history did Canadian governments make the slightest attempt to honour their obligations.

Most recently, Harper has opened the final war on native peoples, the destruction of their social structure so that no indentifiably native society remains, a campaign marked by racist litereature from Ottawa to be distributed by goofs like Robert Goguen, and by Harper taking over control of native schools. The purpose is to get them out of the way so he can destroy the environment for the benefit of his oil-drilling friends.

And we're suprised there was a riot?

New Brunswick is a good example of the inactivity. It should have been obvious from the start that native peoples would be profoundly affected by oil exploration - and might well object to it in their back yards. That was well over a decade ago.

So when did a premier first deign to even talk to native peoples? Not until there was a blockade at Rexton. Not until it was obvious this was a major problem.

For that matter, no New Brunswick government told the rest of us about it, either. Under pressure, Alward set up a medical study, then trashed it and insulted the whole medical community. Then he and the papers promised there would be a steady flow of information about fracking. He was lying. So were the papers.

Then he picked out an academic fraud, apparently a buddy of Mr. Irving, to be the mastermind for planning shale gas - a subject in which he proved to be a fraud.

It's not just native people who were abused in this way. It's all of us. Even Alward talks are a fraud. We know there is no possiblity he is going to make a deal that would mean stopping the drilling. We all know that. Alward has lied to us as long as he's been in politics. No wonder native people blocked a road. If New Brunswickers were not such a supine lot, every road in this lying province would have been blocked.

The editorial is either brainless or unscrupulous. (Though it's hard to imagine the person who wrote such an editorial having enough brains to be unscrupulous.)  Its point - pretending to be in sympathy with native people - is that this is really a question of money, not of safety. All the native peoples need is a bigger share of the profits. In short, they can be bought.

That is cynical enough. then it advises we call in the federal government to help. Right. Native peoples will love that - big daddy Harper who has been such a keen environmentalist and friend of native peoples, the one who wrote that racist tract about them.

Anyway, that's going to be the Irving route. It's all really just about money. I mean, if we just got paid more for it, we'd love to have great ponds of toxic waste all over the province.

All this is the word of a government and a newspaper chain which have done nothing but lie to and manipulate us from the start.

This is what destroys societies.

Brent Mazerolle writes a column that is weepily on everybody's side. Alas, It shows not the slightest understanding of what this is all about. And he's one of our great, duh thinkers. Duh, this could create jobs.

Brent, listen to what the doctors have told us, the ones who actually have degrees in what they're talking about. Fracking is immensely destructive of the environment and of human health. (duh, but it creates jobs).

Concentrate, Brent. Try to remember what our parents tried to tell us, and what we try to tell our children, "THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CANNOT HAVE."

Can you understand that Brent? We are destroying our environment at an unheard of pace. Scientists - real ones, not frauds hired by our politicians and economic bosses - say we are within a decade of feeling the effects of climate change. Very soon, it will be too late to prevent it. And Harper has done...well, he suspended all our research on climate change, and wiped out most of our regulations. But, duh, it creates jobs.

Oh - yeah - we're going to have the world toughest regulation. Yeah. This come from our governments which began shale gas drilling without regulations at all, and still doesn't have any. Nor is there any indication of any being developed.

There are some things you cannot have.
Norbert, as he so often does, writes on three topics, on all of which he is ignorant. Maybe he should be head of our Energy Commission.

The Rexton incident sums up most of New Brunswick's problems. It's newspapers are lying and incompetent, It's political leaders, so far, have been puppets of Irving, and Irving is driven by an unlimited greed and indiffference to others. He also has effectively destroyed democracy in this province and it is that destruction which will destroy New Brunswick society, itself.


But don't worry. Our churches are pitching in with answers to our problems. Check out the Faith Page - pie sales, rummage sales, pancake breakfasts...

The Lord works in mysterious ways....


Friday, October 18, 2013

Oct. 18: A society in decay....

It's too early to decide who was to blame for yesterday's violence at the anti-shale gas group. The available reporting on it, though quite good, is still vague on some points. (The TandT reporters seem to have done a good job on this story so far.) The problem is that the violence was not caused by something that happened just yesterday. This goes way back; and we have to get rid of some of our fixed thinking to make sense of it.

We have to go all the way back to New France. That's when our ancestors killed native peoples who got in the way. They also took native peoples as slaves - something rarely mentioned in the history books - though that didn't work out very well; native peoples died young in slavery.

Then there was the final taking of their land by the British- which was simply old-fashioned theft - accompanied by the signing of a treaty (which no Canadian government has ever honoured.)

As an afterthought, native peoples in the way of European settlement in Canada's west were quite deliberately starved to death in the late 1880s. Following that, the decision of Canadian governments was to take the children away from their homes, and put them into residential schools which would, it was thought, convert them in "regular" Canadians. In short, the idea was to destroy the native societies. Problem solved.

But it didn't work. Quite apart from the brutality of the schools, the children did, indeed, lose much of their sense of what being a native person meant. But, coming out of those awful schools, they could not become "regular Canadian" children.

No Canadian government has ever come to grips with the meaning of the treaties. Native peoples have been allowed to sink into poverty and isolation, with social problems that are almost beyond understanding. So , for years, governments have simply ignored the problem and ignored their obligations. Most have hoped native peoples would simply disappear. Harper has been more active. He wants them destroyed.

Harper is determined to move oil. That's why he was destroyed almost all environmental protection in Canada. That's why he has cut off funding for research on climate change. (Of course, we all know from propaganda circulated by the oil industry that there is no climate change, and polar ice is not melting and and sea levels are not rising. But it's amazing how deluded people can be, and how they refuse to listen to the wise minds in our oil industry.  The people in the tiny nation of Kiribati - a chain of islands in mid-Pacific have been so deluded that their low-lying islands are threatened, they actually believe two of them have already disappeared, and their president has advised all of them to leave over the next few decades because the whole nation is only a couple of meters above sea level, and will be gone by the end of the century.) We should send those people copies of the Times and Transcript to straighten them out.)

Harper is determined to move that oil. Native peoples and their treaties are in the way. So Harper has declared war on them. It began a year ago with his attack on native chiefs for their very high salaries. That's why we got notices from the wicked witch's flying monkeys like Robert Goguen that were quite openly racist.

(In fact, most chiefs did not get high salaries and, in any case, what the chiefs get is none of Mr. Harper's business. Native peoples have treaty rights to manage their own affairs.)

His next move doesn't look dangerous. But it is. He intends this year to take a direct hand in the education of native children. He particularly mentioned the teaching of history to native children. Why is Mr. Harper, who knows little about the subject, so interested in history? Because he wants them to learn the white man's version of history. In short, this is a step back to what the residential schools were intended to do -to destory any sense of native identity.

That's the background to the violence at Rexton - centuries of abuse, lies, and betrayal. You cannot understand what happened yesterday unles you understand that background.


But fear not. It was only native peoples who were abused, lied to, and betrayed. New Brunswick governments have been handing out shale gas permits for over ten years. They just never bothered to tell us. And in all those years, there have been no regulations - and certainly no enforcement. They still haven't designed the regulations. And they asked us to trust them.

Forced, at last, to give information, - they just didn't. And the Irving press cooperated fully.There were all those promises, We would get up do date information on shale gas. We would get both sides of the story.

And we got nothing whatever, except for the occasional lie.

When Dr. Cleary, so far the only qualified person ever appointed to speak on this issue, gave a speech the government didn't like, one that said it was too dangerous to go ahead. The government and the Irving Press buried it.

Then they hired a fraudulent professor to write a counter-report (on a subject he knew nothing about).
The Irving Press hailed him as a brilliant scholar of international fame. But he soon confessed he was a fraud. The news story of his confession of fraud was written by a pair of spin doctors to make him sound like a man who'd been mistreated by unnamed villains.

In fact, I believe that accepting money under false pretences is a crime. And I should think it a very serious one when it means playing games with people's lives.

So when does our RCMP arrest Professor Lapierre? No. Never. Whether you get arrested in this province depends on who you are, and who your friends are.

It's rather like the Lac Megantic disastter which seems to have been caused -or, at least, exacerbated -
by the behaviour and possibly the criminal lying of an oil company. The result was dozens of dead. So where's the investigation? Where is Robert "Smirky" Goguen with his fliers for your mail box?

Then came the final touch.

Alward announced there would be discussion to reach a peaceful deal. What a nice man!

What a lying ass!

Reach a deal? How? The protesters at Rexton were not asking for a better deal. They were stuck with a huge, international company moving onto their land to do things they were never consulted on or even informed about. They weren't looking for a deal. They were saying no. How the hell do you reach a compromise with no?

And how are native peoples to accept a deal with governments that have betrayed them, impoverished them, brutalized them, and lied to them for centuries? And as a final touch, what the hell was any New Brunswick government thinking of when it gave away treaty lands without consulting the native peoples from the start?

As for SWN, the only acceptable compromise would be letting it go ahead with exploration - which is precisely what native peoples have said no to. And all the shale gas companies have made it clear they mean to go ahead no matter what anybody thinks.

The choice was yes or no. That was it. How could Alward be dumb enough to think it was possible to find a middle ground between yes and no?

It's possible that Alward was not being dumb - or smart. It's possible he was being sly. Setting up the discussion makes him look as though he's being moderate and reasonable. And if there is no moderate solution? Well, that might well provoke a reaction. But then the Irving press will be able to blame the native peoples for it.

Tell you what, Alward, I have a compromise suggestion. Tell SWN it cannot explore for shale gas on any native territory. Instead, it will be given a free hand in Rothesay.

Who is responsible for what caused Rexton? Lots of people - going all the way back for centuries. It's been made worse lately by the greed of big business, the bought politicians who work for their masters - and who are the ones to pass the laws, set up courts to enforce them, and control the police.

By definition, then, anything they do is right. After all, it's the law (that they made) that's being enforced. Follow it closely. Because you're next.

Take in the picture. This is a society in advanced rot. The economic and political leaders of this province don't lead. Instead, they lie; they manipulate; and they are stunningly ignorant. They are corrupt and corrupting.

The result is frustration and, sometimes, violence. Eventually, the whole society simply breaks down. That's where we're going.

Norbert is off on another rant about civil servants and how stupid they are. Right. They ain't smart like that there Alward or Mr. Hemming who can't seem to find a collar in the right size. This time Norbert rants at the civil servants in education - a subject of which Norbert knows nothing at all.

In fact anyone with any experience on the field knows that civil servants are normally the most intelligent and skilled people in government. Indeed, and though big business likes to forget it, there was a period in the 1940s and 50s when big business normally sent its most promising executives to study the methods of the civil service.

Grow up, Norbert.