Saturday, February 15, 2014

Feb. 15:Norbert's idea of a great election campaign

Some weeks ago, Norbert expressed the view that we need people to come up with ideas - you know, neat ideas - and that's how we should choose a government and solve our economic crisis. Us voters would listen to the ideas, discuss them, and come to a conclusion. Simple, really.

Well, that's what we're doing.

Today, Mr Alward is pushing for shale gas. But it's a bit tough to discuss that, isn't it? The government and the Irving press have worked to rig the debate, to suppress information, to lie... to ignore the opinion of the Chief Medical Officer And this is such a highly technical issue that it's hard to imagine much useful discussion of it in a province that has the highest rate of illiteracy in Canada.

Dominic Cardy has proposed an end to automatic promotion in the schools - an idea I think is a good one. But it's now all confused thanks to hopelessly garbled statements from the government side on whether we have it at all.

Alward supports the Events Centre, and says it will be a big economic boost to  Moncton and the province. I think he's full of it - but that's not the point. The point is that New Brunswick has profound economic problems which are not going to be solved by an events centre.

The Liberals don't even pretend to have ideas. Apparently, they're depending on the grand old New Brunswick tradition of voting in the the Liberals when they're mad at the Conservatives, then going back to the Conservatives when they're mad at the Liberals.

And what do all these neat ideas have to do with choosing the government we need?

Nothing whatever. The fact is you have to figure out what the problem is before dreaming up neat ideas to solve it.

New Brunswick is mostly poor. Why is that so? Well, obviously, it's because there's a huge wage gap in the this province, a wage gap made even worse by ow income taxes for the rich, and by lavish gifts to corporate bosses.

And why has that happened? Well, it's because we have an economic system that's called capitalism (or in our cutesie way, entrepreneurship). But among the rich, what they call capitalism is a travesty of what capitalism really is. Real capitalism has nothing to do with giving forests away to billionaires, or handing them "incentives', or charging them lower taxes, or setting up farcical private/public partnerships.

We've made it worse by allowing the very rich to take over the government, itself, so that our elective representatives have become obvious stooges.

This isn't capitalism. This is just greed, corruption, and stupidity gone wild.

Whether we should build an events centre is not something that is a major election issue. The major issues here are Do we have a democracy? Who really controls this province? How do we suffer from that control? What is the fundamental change we have to make?

Well, the fundamental change is that we have to break the power of the wealthy, and take back our own province.

Another one is to recognize that in some areas, public ownership is far superior to private ownership.
So let's forget the idiocy of argument over capitalism and socialism. Most advanced societies discovered long ago they need a combination of both. Ask anybody who grew up in the days of private health care.

The same is true of schooling. Private schooling may be very nice (if exaggerated in its quality). But can you imagine the ignorance that would run  wild in this world if every child had to pay school fees?

Oh, and forget that crap about how the rich create wealth for us. Great wealth is normally based on creating immense poverty and misery for others. It's also very closely associated with the destruction of democracy, and the creation of brutal dictatorhips.

For proof, ask anybody in Africa or Central America or China or India.  In fact, you can now add to those the people of the US, western Europe in general - and large parts of Canada. Or just use  your eyes. This travesty we call capitalism does not create wealth - except for the very rich. For most of the rest, it creates poverty and misery.

We don't need an election on neat ideas. We need one in which we face some realities. And big business doesn't want us to do that. That's why no Liberal or Conservative or Irving newspaper has ever mentioned big business as a problem in any statement of what has created our deficit.

The business page has a big, big story. "Natural gas prices impact business". Well, yeah.
(And, oh, I hate to see 'impact' used as a verb.).

There's a news story on D3 about a car bomb killing a dozen people in Syria. It strongly implies the government side did it. Of course. The report, as always, comes from the 'rebel' side. It may well be true. But the 'rebels' have killed large numbers in mass executions that included beheading. And we don't get those reports.

Other than that, there's nothing much in Newstoday
The editorial page should be avoided. The op ed has Bent Mazerolle writing an amazingly silly and illogical article arguing we should develop shale gas because it will produce more Olympic athletes from New Brunswick
(For real. That's what he says.)

Gwynne Dyer contributes an excellent column on Israel's nuclear weapons, revealing some pretty chilling and distasteful stuff that you are unlikely to mainstream new media (which make it all the more stunning to find it in the Irving press.

The student columns in Section F (Whatever) are a delightul read. They're well written; and they're a great change from the lies, manipulation, and sheer ignorance of the rest of the paper. 

The Faith page is its usual, miserable self. It is comforting, though, to read about all the pancake breakfasts, and be assured that Moncton Christians are among the best fed people in the world.

Tomorrow, I'm going to write about empathy. And that will explain why I think the Faith page to be an embarrassment,  even for people of the most .limited faith. 

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