Friday, November 22, 2013

Nov. 22: Back to normal

It's another trivia day - mostly -  in the TandT. A plant in Nova Scotia which does something to onions has laid off workers temporarily because its onions are late in delivery. The news YOU need to know..

"Robert Irving disputes 'misinformation'". His statement tells us little we didn't know, and really makes no difference in the issue of our city council handing out goodies to Mr. Irving. He concludes with a pious statement that "the Moncton Wildcats believes it pays its fair share of the costs towards the Coliseum.."  I"m sure the Moncton Wildcats believe that. But that's not really their decision to make. Is it?

He adds, (the team) "...provides a positive impact to our community.."  And I have no idea what that even means.

It's unfortunate for Mr. Irving that his defence (or defiance) appears in the same paper that has a front page story on how a desperate man climbed into a vacant house to sleep last night. And there he died in a fire.

There are quite a few people in this city who have no decent housing and even no housing at all. But our city needs all the money it can get to help Mr. Irving in his good work,  so important to the community, of making a profit for himself out of a hockey team. It's a good sign that Moncton council has its priorities right.

There's also a big story on the back page of community groups collecting food for the hungry. Those groups deserve unlimited credit for what they're doing.  But there is surely something wrong with governments at any level who leave it up to volunteers to feed a population with large numbers, including children and elderly, to make sure everyone gets enough to eat.

At this season, that reminds me of Macdonald's stores who have advised their underpaid employees to break food and eat it in small bits in order to save money. In the US, some Walmart stores have, with religiosity that only a Walmarts can dream up, asked employees to bring in extra food they have to give to other employees who ocan't afford enough to eat for themselves and their families - you know, with their lousy Walmart salaries.

Hey! I have a great idea. Why don't governments at all levels take responsibility for making sure everybody has a place for shelter, and food to eat.

Then we can get our community groups to voluntarily raise money for Robert Irving.

The biggest story is that John F. Kennedy had links to New Brunswick. That is, he once visited Fredericton. Wow! That changes everything.

Oh, Lord Beaverbrook was a good friend of Kenney's farher, Joe, when his farther was ambassador to Britain in World War II. How thrilling! That means a New Brunswicker was a good friend of an ex-gangster and liquor smuggler who used his position in Britain to illegally get inside information on Brittish business that helped him get richer by taking advantage of Britain's suffering in the war.

An inspiration for us all.

Recent information from the RCMP seems to confirm what was obvious from the start. Harper was involved in the Senate scandal all along. That means he lied to parliament. That involvment in the scandal is also a crime.

But not to worry. The record of Canadian prime mimisters found guilty of various crimes (like Mulroney accepting bribes) is a very flimsy one.  And there is no record of any punishment ever being handed down. (Well, Mulroney had to pay tax on his bribes - or the ones they knew about.)

Nor is likely to penetrate the minds of faithful voters. Remember, Rob Ford still has the support of 40% of Toronto voters.
The editorial is one of the best ever. It rises to being neither good nor bad. Nor important.

If you have tears, shed them for Alec Bruce. He's trying to stop smoking. I know the feeling. I began at age 24, buying a pipe so girls would pay attention to me. By thirty, it was cigars then, by 35, three packs of cigarettes a day.

Then, about Alec's age, I just stopped. It wasn't a decision or a tapering off or a resolution. I just stopped, and I've never had any temptation to start again.

And I am now virtuous. Boring. But virtuous.

Norbert's column is that that John F. Kennedy embodied the lost hopes of 'the west'....well to be fair, that's not quite what he says. He full statement is that "JFK 50 years later embodies the last hopes...." The difference between those two statements is subtle - but it's a big difference; and I think Norbert was wise to choose the latter because the JFK of fifty years ago was largely mythical.

In fact, JFK was a rich, spoiled and self-centred son of a thoroughly grasping, unprincipled and self-centred father. He had never been a naval hero. The loss of PT-109 was due to his neglect of duties. That's why the US navy refused to give him a medal for the incident ( despite tremendous pressure from daddy.)

His policies while in office were in no way different from the president before him or the one after. He did nothing for human rights. In fact, he and brother Bobby ordered the FBI to dig up information that could be used against Martin Luther King.

It was JFK who first got the US involved in the disastrous Vietnam war. Even his handling of the Cuban missile crisis is very questionable.

But he was young, good-looking and rich. And the age of television did the rest.

Cole Hobson has an interesting column on a local group (grown into quite a large one) that encourages random acts of kindness. It's good idea, and it seems to have quite an impact already.

Much as I like it, it makes me uncomfortable when I see the papers almost every day featuring such acts of kindness as though they solve all problems. They don't.

Encouraging random acts of kindness is good for the giver and good for the receiver - but it's of limited help in solving social problems. There are things we can do only in an organized way - as a whole society through the political process. Collecting cookies for poor children at Christmas is nice. But it doesn't solve the problem or hunger.

Brian Gallant, our provincial Liberal leader, has a neat idea in his op ed piece. He wants to expand the forest industry. Okay, maybe, but....

Elections should not be about neat ideas. And the notion that we are going to revive the New Brunswick economy by cutting down more trees, while it might have some effect, doesn't impress me as a dazzler. But in any case should never start the political process with "neat ideas".

We should start with principles and values. What principles and values does the party have? These will be the foundation of its policies. So what are they?

Do you  believe in the principle - as both Liberals and Conservatives have shown they do - that the purpose of political parties is to keep rich people happy? Do you believe as a value that making the rich richer will make all of us better off?

Do you believe that people have a right to basic services? Why? And what are they?

I wouldn't waste a minute on a politician who wants to tell us his or her neat ideas. I want to know the values he or she stands for. I want to know what he or she thinks government should be involved in - and why.

So when I read a column like Mr. Gallant's, all I can think of is, "Mr. Gallant has no principles or values. That's why he's babbling about "neat ideas".

Keep an eye on The Phillipines. The US is sending massive aid, almost all of it accompanied by huge military force including a nuclear-powered carrier, combat-ready marines and soldiers - very heavy on the military.

Filipinos are probably very, very nervous.

We don't know it because we don't learn Phillipine history. But Filipinos do.

In the years about 1900, the US fought one of the longest and bloodiest colonial wars in history. Filipinos had just expelled the Spanish and established the first republic in Asia. So the US did what it has done many times.

It destroyed the republic. Then it killed half (HALF) of the entire population. It also used torture on a wide scale. (This is where waterboarding was developed.)

Then it stole resources, reduced the people to cheap labour for American owners, keeping the country in poverty for generations. Oh, and it did all those through military rulers, of whom the last was General MacArthur.

After the Japanese occupation, American power returned in the form of a dictator chosen and obedient to the US. That, with profound poverty, lasted for over twenty more years. Filipinos remember.

And now there's that nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and those thousands and thousands of troops.
Filipinos will be wondering why...and they're right to wonder.

It was twenty years ago that The Project for the New American Century published its plan for world dominance, in effect, world conquest by the US.

That means the US has to "contain" China, possibly even to invade it. Thus the importance of the alliances with Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

But they need bases, lots of bases for troops and stockpiles and supply lines - and it needs thsm closer to China. Enter The Phillipines.

Such a war has to happen soon, which may be one reason Obama needs to move his focus from Africa and the Middle East to Asia. (Note well, too, that the US plans to keep troops in Afghanistan long, long after the war there is over.)

A was with China would also have some nuclear elements.

That's why, as filipinos watch American soldiers pouring off their ships, what they are thinking is "When are they going? Are they going?"



  1. You would think a guy who critiques a newspaper and fancies himself an editor would make less spelling mistakes.