Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Oct. 1: What the.....?

The American government has shut down for lack of money - with implications we can only guess at.. Canada's John Baird gives very strange speech at the UN. An expensive flyer from Goo-goo Goguen lands in Moncton mailboxes. And the big news of the day, the banner headline on the Times andTranscript is "Wildcats bid to host Memorial Cup".

Talk about living with your nose in your bellybutton! Actually, the story really says nothing. We don't have the hosting job. It's a bid. That's all. Other teams are bidding, too. So far, nothing has really happened.

But that's the TandT idea of the biggest story of the day. And no doubt we'll start seeing opinion pieces that we have to hurry, hurry, hurry, and build our "events centre" right now. Just in case.

A far more important story is just below it. Anti-shale gas protesters  and police and company guards are in a tense confrontation in Rexton.  Well, that's a change. Usually, the TandT doesn't even report on oppostion to shale gas and, when it does we get a dose of biased propaganda. This time,  however, the report seems to be an honest one.

Below that is a picture of a smiling man saying NB should begin training oil and gas workers.

I wonder why? Why should the taxpayers pick up the tab for jobs that will not be long term - and which may never happen at all? Given the short term nature of the jobs, surely it's the industry - you know, free enterprise - that should be training them. I mean, if we train them, that means we're making government even bigger. And it seems to me I've read lost of stories and opinion columns saying that big government is bad.  (Think Norbert.)

However, this is an important story because it comes from David Collyer who's an expert on these things because he's president of an oil and gas lobby group. So there.

The rest of section A is only for those whose TV sets are broken.

Section C, NewsToday, actually has some (if not much) news in it. Unfortunately, the accounts tell us very little about the meaning ofo the stories.

As of midnight, the US government has been broke. Hundreds of thousands of paycheques will not go out. Many government services will be closed.

A group of Republicans called "the tea party" movement, a group wild-eyed and hysterical even by the standards of US politics,  has seized control of the Republican Party to fight the cause dearest to them. They have voted to shut down the US government to fight the greatest problem facing the US today.

No, it's not working out a settlement with Syria and Iran before we plunge into a nuclear war. No, it's not the conversioni of the US into a police state. It's not a debt so high that it will never be possible to pay if off. It's not even the world's biggest prison population, with large numbers of prisoners subect to torture, and to life in solitary confinement. (Under interntaional law, solitary confinement is torture. Today, there is a man dying of cancer in his cell after spending 47 YEARS in solitary confinement. Another was just released after 30 years of solitary when a lucky accident proved him innocent of the crime that put him there. Both, of course, were African-American.)

It's not even the fact that shutting down the government severely risks a downturn in the economy which would strike a terrible blow at those already suffering record levels of poverty.

It's not even the most terrible risk at all. The American deficit is all borrowed money. That's because it hardly taxes the rich at all, though it collects taxes from the poor to shovel them into corrupt deals with the very rich. (That's been known to happen in Canada.)

The countries who loaned that money are not amused by what is going on. China, for example, may very well move to make its currency the standard currency of foreign exhange - a move that would devalue the American dollar to the value of wallpaper.

So what is it that is worth this terrible risk? Why, it's Obamacare. Yes. Letting poor people see doctors when they're sick - and without them paying for it - would destroy America as we know it. It works in every developed country in the world. But in the US? No. It would destroy the fibre of the nation.

The "tea party movement"...that's a form of mental illness that has been spreading among "the better sort" of people in this province.


Then there was the remarkable speech by our Foreign Affairs minister, John Baird, to the UN. It was a vicious attack on Iran, comparing it to Nazi Germany, saying it could never be trusted.....and on.

Now, most foreign leaders around the world are doing everything they can to encourage the thaw in US-Iran relations. And anyone who bothers to look at how those relations became bad has only to look at the history of Iran since the 1950s when the US overthrew the democratic, elected government of Iran so American and British companies could steal the oil. And the US installed a brutal dictator in the person of the shah.

What's especially odd is that the Candian government and Baird have both made it clear that they won't take part in a war with Iran, or with Syria as a stepping stone to an Iran war. So why is Baird egging everybody else on?

It's pure domestic politics.

Harper is interested only in winning elections. To do that, he courts every minority group he can find. Usually, he gives little or nothing to such groups. But he says what they want to hear. That`s why the government bought thousands of portraits of the Queen to hang on every bare wall in the country. That's why we spent 30 million on that half-wit celebration of the War of 1812.

One such victory for Harper has been nailing down the Jewish vote. Montreal has a large Jewish community, for example. I knew it well, so well many people thought I was Jewish. For most of the last half of the twentieth century, it's vote was Liberal with some CCF-NDP sympathy.

The change began in the 1990s when the Israeli government made its influence felt by having its agents take over Jewish community groups like B'Nai Brith.  One such group was a Jewish library in which I had given monthly talks on current events for some fifteen years. Attendance was commonly a capacity crowd of 300. Rarely, it might drop to 200. I shall never forget my last meeting shortly after I retired from Concordia.

The library had a new librarian, the former one having failed to show enough zeal for Zionism and for t he right of Israelis to steal Palestinian land. The new librarian asked to say a few words to the group first. I graciously sat back to wait for her words of thanks to me for fifteen years. She went to the microphone.

"Just wait to hear who we have as your new current events speaker. You're going to forget all about Graeme Decarie."

While the agents of the Israeli government propagandized Jewish communities across Canada to unquestioning acceptance that the Israeli government was always right and, even though it had nuclear weapons, poison gas stocks, and the strongest military in the region, it was terribly, terribly threatened by those awful Arabs.

My closest Jewish friends, most of whom were practicing Jews and were ardent Zionists, some with family in Israel, found themselves ostracized because they wanted to work for peace in the Middle East.

Harper got the message. He gave speeches that were probably the most pro-Israel speeches in the world. He never actually did anything (like John Baird) but he talked a good game (like John Baird).
The result? The Canadian Jewish vote is now Conservative.

Harper doesn't have principles. He just has a desire for power.

Mind you, there is still opinion and analysis to be found in the TandT. To deal with these crucial issues of the day. we have an editorial and an opinion column on the crisis of people  swatting golf balls in a small, public park. Both the editorial and Alan Cochrane`s opinion column waffle a bit on the issue. The editorial is the better of the two, though why such a subject would require more than a paragraph is baffling. Cochrane`s column is so ``on he one hand....on the other hand`` as to be unintelligible.


The Current Events group meets tonight at Moncton Library at 7. We`ll see.


1 comment:

  1. The congress should have taken into consideration the welfare of its constituents.