Friday, January 17, 2014

Jan. 17: Harper, and the biggest blunder.....

...since native peoples asked Jacques Cartier to stay for supper.

(I'm starting this one on the evening of Jan. 16 because there's something I skipped yesterday to fit in the bit about that Business magazine in the TandT.)

The purpose of Harper's grand and well-publicized tour of Israel is simply to help him nail down the Canadian Jewish vote in the next federal election. That's how he sees it. Now let's see it as Americans will see it.

The US, which has given Israel virtually its whole defence budget for decades, is now in crucial negotiations to avoid a war with Iran that is unnecessary and, in fact, wrong-headed. These are the negotiations with Iran which are really a product of American paranoia because a)there is no evidence Iran is working on a nuclear weapons programme. Even US intelligence tells us it does not have any such evidence.

Obama knows that a war with Iran would not only be bloody but would destabilize most of the world for years, and might very well touch off nuclear wars involving the US, Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Israel - all of whom have a stake in this.

Israel, the country that lives on US aid, is openly doing its best to wreck the negotiations and set off a war. Saudi Arabia is on the Israeli side for this one.

So far,  Obama has had a hard time from Israel - though Israel is the nation that has lived off the US for decades. Israel openly is trying to wreck the negotiations. For Harper to go on a grand tour, pledging his eternal love for Israel and unwavering support for Israel at a time like this, is a public slap in the face of Obama.

If I were Obama, I'd take the US back to where it left off in the War of 1812.

At best, Obama faces a situation in which he might be able to avoid an Iran war by giving Israel its wish to destroy and occupy Palestine. But I'm quite sure that even that will not satisfy the Israeli government. It wants absolute dominance in the region - and that means the destruction of Iran. It's possible, even likely, that Israel will launch the war itself, using the nuclear weapons it doesn't admit it  has. (They would need the nuclear weapons because Israel cannot beat Iran with conventional weapons - and it knows Iran has no nuclear weapons to shoot back with.)

Harper has interfered in a situation that, at best, could cause hundreds of thousands of deaths. At worst? Well, think of all those nuclear bombs in the US, Russia, China, Pakistan, India - and Israel.

And why is Harper taking this desperate risk?

Because the most important thing in the world for him is to get himself re-elected.  What a pack of brainless scum we have for a federal government!

Well, the big pitch is on, and quite obviously with the approval of the Irving leadership. It held its first meeting yesterday - and today it was front page, written up by, I'm sorry to say, by Cole Hobson who could have been a good journalist but seems to have decided he'd rather be Brent Mazerolle.

Moncton's 2014 economic summit is on, with a gala dinner and speeches by prominent businessmen, the ones who are going to decide on our "One Region - One Vision" (the vision approved by our social betters.) This is really contemptible in a democracy, a repeat of Irving's conference so he and his buddies (and toadies) could plan the future of New Brunswick.

There were lots of speeches, all of them saying exciting and insightful things like "we must move forward".

There was a pretence this all  had something to do with community and with people but, in fact, the words that appeared again and again were "business leaders", "most prominent leaders". "Community leaders" were mentioned but, obviously, by people who have no idea what the word community means.

None of us unprominent people was there, just our lords who will decide our futures.

Look. Business leaders want Moncton to make money in the same way the owners of Walmart want Walmart to make money - for themselves. Yes, in good times they will hire - but they will hire as few as possible and as cheaply as possible.

But I did not read of anyone there who spoke about working conditions, social environment, income levels, security, of social services. Where are the spokesmen for income levels? Usually, you find these among union leaders. I saw no mention of union leaders at that conference. No. Any income levels will be decided by the "socially prominent".

The seem to have no qualifications whatever to do the planning they claim. They don't even seem to understand the meanings of many of the terms they use.

This is precisely the kind of planning by the kind of people we have seen in control - most notably for the last twenty years.  The result in much of the world has been the corruption of the money institutions causing terrible hardships for millions while the corruptors get their taxes cut and ours raised. And in many countries, we lower classes got hit with the tab for paying off the corruption of the rich.

It has meant the cut of social services just when they are so badly needed, but millions in bonuses for people who make more in a day than most of us do in a year. It has meant that because of the greed of the upper levels of big business, millions of Americans are suffering terribly in a suffering whose effects will be felt for generations. And that suffering will come to us in even greater measure than it has so far. The dominance of big business making decisions where it should not be making then has us, quite seriously, on the edge of economic collapse.

Yes, our futures will be decided (one vision allowed) by 300 strutting poseurs with little if any qualifications.

And our mayor took part. Not surprisingly, he seems to be unfamiliar with the meaning of the word "democracy".

Mr.Mayor, a society is made of a wide range of people who have very different social situations and very different views of what they need. There is no such thing as one vision for any region. Mr. Irving's vision of this region appears to be one in which he is very rich and so has a special right to influence people, and a right to interfere in politics.

It's been done before. It doesn't work. And because of that sort of arrogance, we have people who go hungry, people do not have the opportunities of others. That way lies disaster.

That's why we have democracy - to involve everybody, not just the social elite, not just the self-defined leaders of society.

Then, Cole Hobson did a kiss-kiss. Having written the story, he then wrote an op-ed column on it which repeats the tone of the story.

Too bad. When I first read Cole Hobson's work, I thought he could become a real journalist.

Oh, when you read his column, notice how often he refers to business. Not community. Not people. Just business. That's typical of the Irving press. Government is entirely about business. Life is entirely about business.

In fact, government is about people. And far from leading us and planning our lives, the proper role of business is to serve us and our needs.

The first half of Alec Bruce's column enraged me. He agreed with a report of The Fraser Insitute. That alone had me yearning for a musket over the fireplace. The report was against minimum wages because it says they discourage employment. For a start, that sounds extremely simplistic.

There are a great many countries in this world that have no minimum wage - Haiti, Guatemala, Congo... I can't think of one of them that is noted for high employment.

Then Bruce's tone changed. He talked about the realities of the employment problem, and did a very good job of it. Then he went to propose a more intelligent solution though - as he says - it is not likely to be achieved in our political climate.

And I'm afraid I very much agree with him on that.
The editorial speaks strongly against municipalities borrowing money unless, of course, they have some exceptional project like, say, an events centre. Then you can borrow like crazy, even with the world in danger of financial meltdown.

Luckily, we also have columns by Suzuki and Gwynne Dyer.

The banner news for NewsToday is that Prince Charles and Lady Camilla will visit the Maritimes in May. Isn't that wonderful?

Well, it wet my pants.


  1. I do believe you have read Harper correctly. It is outrageous that he is also making taxpayers foot the bill for at least several of the unusually large entourage he will be taking with him.

    If Canadians do not express their outrage at this, especially since he had been cutting their jobs and services, then the voters are brainless too, no?

  2. There's no doubt he's doing this for the Jewish Canadian vote. I know people on both sides of the issue in Montreal, and nobody even pretends he has any other motive than getting votes.

    When he recently scrapped many years of environmental studies, he said he did it to save money. The saving was something over 400,000. This trip, alone, will cost well over that.

  3. If there was ever to be a nuclear war, with bombs landing in Israel, (only insanity would allow such a hope) could they pinpoint that hit to take out one certain (so-called) Canadian?