Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Feb.19: I was a little dozey yesterday, so I was to easy on one point, and actually missed another.

In yesterday's paper, Irving Oil graciously told us it was voluntarily upgrading the safety standards of all its rail tankers. Forty-seven people were killed by those rail cars. They were killed partly because the tanker cars weren't strong enough. Irving Oil is in the railway business. Is it so simple-minded it didn't know its tankers were vulnerable?

And now Irving Oil will voluntarily  upgrade its cars. Where the hell is the government? Shouldn't it have regulations on this - and shouldn't it be enforcing them? Forty-seven people were killed. Are we leaving it up to the goodness in the hearts of oil and rail bosses to look after it?

If I drive my car in a dangerous condition and kill forty two people with it, do I get to voluntarily fix it?

The RCMP got a warrant to search the head office of Irving Oil. How often have you even heard of the RCMP demanding such a search for such a big company?

So what was that all about? And why have we never heard the results of it?

For that matter, we still don't have a final report on Lac Megantic Forty-two people got killed.

Meanwhile, no rush. We'll keep using the old cars for almost another year. I wouldn't even be surprised if our government gave the Irvings some of our money to help upgrade their cars.

There's a very bad smell about this whole deal. Maybe they can get that clergyman they hire for the Irving chapel to explain the morality of it all to us.
Yesterday's p. A6 had a story "Climate change discussed"' And that's pretty much all there is to the story. We get no idea of what was said. just a few names of people who were there, what hotel it was held in, and how they all went to Shediac (I have no idea why).

And some editor said, "Wow! Stop the presses. We gotta run this story."

Nothing much in section A unless you really care that sports bars will open early if Team Canada makes it to a gold medal in hockey.

Well, there's also a story on page one that we're going to upgrade route 11. But there is a certain piquancy to the story's paragraph 4. It says estimates for the upgrade were a billion dollars. But the government can do it for half that.

Estimates of a billion were made by----who? Obviously not by the government. So that means they were made by private business. And that means what good economists have known for the best part of a century. Government is more efficient than private business. Read that, Norbert. Read, and think.
(I wonder which editor let that slip by).
Gallant, in NewsToday, accuses Alward of not being clear on why we have so many budget deficits. True. In fact, nobody in politics or the press seems to be clear on that. But the reason stares us in the face.

The rich pay little in the way of taxes, eat like pigs in a sty on government money, and pay each other huge sums for jobs that don't merit such pay. That is what has driven the western world into recession. Funny how the Irving Press never makes that obvious connection.

But somebody has to pay for the bonuses and the overseas bank accounts and the caviar. So the rich, having driven the poor to hunger and desparation, now demand that the poor be the ones to pay to balance the budget. That's why our hospitals are getting "reorganized". That's why schools have to sell things door to door to get essential equipment. That's why they have to charge fees to buy basic materials like office paper.

We have been driven back into the age of Ebenezer Scrooge. And that's no exaggeration. Debtor's prison has been reintroduced in the US. The gap between rich and poor is at least as great as it was in the time of Scrooge.

The greed and immorality of the rich is impoverishing us as it has long ago impoverished the people of Africa, much of Latin America, and of Asia.

Ultimately, it can only be destructive - even of big business itself. But greed can make people very, very stupid.

Shale gas and events centres are not going to make us rich. The very rich will take far the most of whatever we have. Mr. Irving should not be confused with the fairy godmother.

Take a look at today's editorial cartoon. It has a cabinet minister holding up hands which have scissors for fingers. Never, never, in the history of this province have those scissors been applied to the rich. You are the ones who take the cuts. And now you're getting cut so they can keep that wage gap growing. These are not leaders of any sort. These are grasping, amoral threats to the very survival of our society.____________________________________________________________

Norbert had a column on education that looks good, but actually says nothing at all. That's because Norbert doesn't know anything about education at all.

Alec Bruce has a clear column of simple truth about Harper's persecution of a Canadian general because he happens to be a Liberal.

The op ed page, with Eric Lewis and Brian Cormier, is the usual irrelevant and trivial stuff that will be enjoyed by the people who think Norbert's column in brilliant.

What's missing in the news?

Well, there's a story revealed by a recent book called Operation Paperclip. It tells how the US got Jesuits to smuggle a thousand Nazi scientists into Canada, and then to the US at the end of World War Two. Many of them were war criminals who had been close to Hitler's himself, and some had carried out grotesque experiments on living people in the death camps.

One of the scientists who was supposed to be included was Hitler's most notorious killer of Jews, Joseaph Mengele. But Mengele slipped off to South America.

Roosevelt thought the idea of bringing war criminal scientists was disgusting. But Roosevelt died. And President Truman always felt favourably inclined to things that were disgusting.

You can find the story and directions to get the book easily. Just google Operation Paperclip.

I knew Canada had special operations troops. But I didn't know what they did or where. Turns out I'm not alone in that.

Special ops are high trained troops used in relatively small groups for things like assassinations, spreading terror, that sort of thing. Okay, we sometimes need that. but....

Here in Canada (and in the US) we have no idea what they're doing. Unlike all other military, they do not report to Congress or to Parliament. They report only the the President or the Prime Minister.

In other words, Harper and Obama have their own, private armies. And they don't have to answer to anybody for how they use them. That is, for a start, contrary to both American and Canadian constitutional practice.

Worse, they are frequently used to stir up wars - as in Syria. And they are used to serve the interests of Canadian and American corporations. For example, a Canadian mine owner who has a mine in, say,Guatemala, that is troublesome because of complaints just has to drop a word in the ear of Harper. Special ops will be sent to kill a few, beat up a lot....

Harper, like Obama, has an utter contempt for democracy and the rule of law. It is one hell of a dangerous and undemocratic thing to give any elected leader his own army which reports only to him.

I was going to close by saying this is just a step away from being Hitler's Waffen-SS. In fact, it is not a step away. This is Hitler's Waffen-SS, the armed section of the Nazi party as it was about 1940.

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