Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nov. 20: Words, words, words...and meanings....

I thought, at first reading, there simply was nothing in Section A of  today's TandT.Then I saw p. A7. "Province willing to consult with First Nation." My, I do wish the politicians and journalists of this province understood the meanings of words.

To consult means to carry on a dialogue between two people or two groups, usually with a desire to come to some agreement. When Alward enters a consultation with a group and it is clear from the start he will not significantly change or cancel shale gas development, that isn't a consultation. When he (or prof Lapierre) enter into meetings which are held in a few spots around the province and involve less than one percent of the population, that is not "consulting the people." When Alward and the newspaper he works for withhold information essential to the discussion, that is not consultation.

In any case, we don't elect politicians so we'll have someone to consult with. We elect them (or should elect them) because they announce the principles, values and priorities they stand for. Then they announce there programmes - showing the connection between programmes, principles, values and priorities..

None of this has happened here. If Mr. Alward has any principles, values or priorities, he has kept them hidden. If he has any programmes, they are the ones dictated to him by his bosses - who have no principles, values or priorities either - except making money as quickly as possibly.

In NewsToday, the most striking headline is "Downtown Christmas season begins". Wow! Who would have guessed?

Since nothing worth reportinig has happened in the world, I thought I'd check to be really sure because it's pretty big world, even bigger than, say, Moncton to Berry Mills - so they might have missed something.  For example:

1, Reuters reports that the U.S. military has lost track of 8.5 TRILLION dollars since 1996. That doesn't count the absurdly high contracts handed out to the defence industry. 8.6 trillion is just what went on corruption, buying congressmen, waste, and old-fashioned theft.

Yes, it happens  in Canada, too. Peter MacKay could tell you something about that. But he won't.

A perverted form of capitalism, allowed to run wild, is destroying the US. It has completely destroyed American democracy; it has created enormous poverty in the US as well as other countries; and we Canadians are much, much further down that road that our news media have been telling us.

(Bus we mustn't protest. That would be disobeying law and order.)

2. There are major and violent demonstrations in Haiti  to force the president to resign. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere thanks to almost a century of control by US and western capitalists. Its people live in a squalor of urban shanties,  usually without water or any sanitation.

At least tens of thousands live under rotten canvas shelters without any basic services. Much of the US money sent to them after a terrible hurricane when to American contractors who used it to fill their own pockets. Very little ever got to Haiti.

Haiti had a president, democratically elected, the first one in all those years of living under dictators in service to US big business. But the US didn't like him because he was spending money on schools, hospitals and decent housing.

So they sent troops to arrest the president, and install a puppet. They called it "peacekeeping", and Canada did its usual grovelling act by sending "peacekeeping" troops.

But who cares? It didn't happen anywhere near Berry Mills.

3. The American prison at Guantanamo Bay is closing -sort of. But that does not mean any change for the prisoners. They are simply being moved to other, secret torture prisons the US has around the world. According to international law, they are all being held illegally; and none of them has ever been found guilty of a crime - or even charged.

Too bad we don't hear all the "law and order" people in New Brunswick shouting about that.

4. News out of Afghanistan is that, by a new agreement, the US army will not be pulling out but will be stayinig on indefinitely - and paying billions to maintain the Afghan government (which will mostly go to corruption.)

Isn't that bizarre?I mean, here's a war the US started without giving a reason. (yeah,yeah, 9/11 - but there is still no evidence that Afghanistan had anything whatever to do with that.)

So why is the US army staying? Who knows? And why did it invade in the first place? Who knows?

And why did Canada send troops to get killed in that war? Who cares?

Canadians made a big thing of lining up to welcome back the remains of the dead that paraded down the "heroes' highway".  Too bad they never bothered to ask why we had sent them in the first place.

6. Remember the "Arab spring"? And how the Arab world was going to blossom into democracy?
Now, it doesn't survive in a single country. And in almost every case it was destroyed by western countries, notably the US. The most recent collapses of democracy have been in Syria and Egypt - both with the US playing a hand.

Canada was there, too. We bombed Libya. Today, Libya is a land of murder, robbery and terror, with no government at all.

Ah, the march of democracy.

The editorialist continues the passionate defence of the right of city council not to tell us what it is doing with our money.

The editorialist uses the example of a contract with the Rolling Stones to argue that some deals should be kept secret because because competing cities might become aware of how we attract shows, and would steal our secrets.

Come off it.

Those "secrets" get out pretty quickly in the business world. Nor is there the slightest reason to see how even this example could have any connection with giving out hundreds of thousands of dollars to Robert Irving to keep his hockey team here (or to open a diaper factory.)

By the reasoning of Mayor Leblanc and the editorialist, virtually all government should be done in secret. And that's their idea of law and order.

Mine is somewhat different. We live in a democracy. It is essential, then, that we know what our elected representatives are doing. To me, then, law and order does not mean getting the RCMP to investigate an act that informed us. Law and order should mean calling in the RCMP to find out who and why suppressed information that we, as members of a democracy, had a right to know.

Norbert Cunningham continues what seems to be an Irving press campaign to sell premier Alward as a cuddly teddy bear. But I'm afraid his resemblance to any such creature begins and ends in Alward's head. Norbert's point is summed up in three choices he says we have:

1." pipe dreams of ideogues with no reference to hard realities."

 Norbert, do you know what ideologue means? Are you aware that you are an ideologue? And far the thickest one I have ever encountered?

2." continued pandering to whims of the entitled while pretending hard realities aren't really that bad and hopinig that the ever closer crisis will hold off longer still..."

Norbert, what the hell are you babbling about? Who are the entitled that you refer to? The only entitled people I have seen in this province are your bosses, the Irvings. Are you saying the Irvings are t he ones guilty? Or is  "entitled" a sneer at the poor? Or does it mean something - I don't know, with meaning only to you? Exactly who are the entitled you are talking about? and tell us what you think entitled means. (Forgive me for my doubts about your understanding of the meaning of words.)

3."realistically taking concrete action to encourage real d evelopment with potential to make a difference, combined with prudent measures," etc.

Norbert - what does that mean? It's not very specific, is it? roughly, it means doing good things.

Then he says that virtually every realistic plan has so far been rejected, resisted, vigorously protested or ignored. Get real, Norbert. The only qualified and scientific study of this question, the Cleary Report, was rejected, resisted, protested or ignored by ostriches like you and your bosses.

The one report you cheered for was the fraudulent one drawn up by an academically unqualified imposter (prof. Lapierre - remember him?)

Norbert, you don't know what words mean. You clearly have not the faintest knowledge of your subject or even of basic logic. And you seem to be unaware of the basic problem that underlies all the rest.

Climate is changing. It's changing very fast. It seems to me that just recently, even you had the wit to recognize that the debate is over. Climate change is coming. In fact, it has arrived for much of the world.

And what causes global warming? Fossil fuels. And what is shale gas? It's a fossil fuel.

Even if Dr. Cleary is wrong about the effects of shale gas development (something nobody has ever shown and that you have never had either the courage or the brains to discuss), we are still faced with one hell of a problem in dealing with fossil fuels. And Canada is one of the most backward countries in the world  in taking action.

Norbert, think. Even if developing shale gas is a pure as a devout , female cockroach in a convent, the world will be able to use for no more than a very, very short time. And a short time is not much of a future for New Brunswick.

The reason we are developinig shale gas has nothing to do with the future of New Brunswick. It has nothing to do with producing even short term benefits for the people of New Brunswick. It has everything to do with producing quick profits the entitled ostriches you work for.

Boy, it would be fun to debate  you in public, Norbert. But,  alas, I also know that you would never, never put yourself on the line like that.
Eric Lewis has a column on how we should be watching the councils spend money. That's not the official opinion of Irving press, Eric. Do you have plans to move on?

Brian Cormier continues his endless series of columns about nothing.  Read it. It gives a new meaning to have nothing to do.

Then we have a letter to the editor from a Stuart Mills of Frederiton, who seems to have learned his reasoning skills from the Norbert Cunningham School of Logic.

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