Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 31: May is such a wimpy month - glad it's over.

Unless you get all excited by beer festivals and obvious but useless statements from politicians (A15. St. John MP Rodney Weston - a good, half-page of wasted paper to tell us that if we boost the economy, gas sales will go up and therefore produce more money in taxes. Obviously, this is a man who can see through walls.)........Well, if you get all excited at drinking beer in a big room and reading about uninteresting people, you'll love section A of today's paper.

There is only one story in the section worth reading - A3, "Shale gas protesters begin three-day march."

It's about 75 people marching from Elsipogtog First Nations Kopit Lodge. They left yesterday, and expect to arrive at Moncton courthouse tomorrow to present letters of protest to SWN Resources.

Before anyone hollers for more police in camouflage outfits, there are some points to consider.

There is a native society which is different from ours.  Ours has become a use and throw-away society. Perhaps the best example of that is the daily newspaper. And we will throw away clean water and healthy soil without a thought for the future. Native people maintain a respect for the land. Long ago, we signed treaties with them to respect the difference between our societies. But we've never honoured them.

As well, it is their land that will be affected. A reserve is not a suburb. It is native land. They have every right too protect it. If anything, we should be calling out the men in camouflage suite and combat rifles to point their weapons at our politicians and SWN executives.

The land is not ours. We have no right to sign agreements with developers for the land when native peoples oppose those agreements. Neither SWN nor our governments have made any attempt at such negotiations. (I know it's not all directly on their land. But their land will certainly suffer.)

These people are not wards of the state. They have rights in law. They have a right to have and preserve their own institutions. They have a right to their own land, a right far stronger than the right a simple landowner has. Just about every leading politician in Canadian history has ignored those rights, and treated native peoples as if they were just children without parents.

Harper, with his passion for developing resources whatever the damage to this country has been deliberately heading on a collision course with native peoples.

The marchers that arrive in Moncton tomorrow are in the right. So let's hope the people of Moncton respect that right. The day is close when they Monctonians will need respect for their rights against those people who see New Brunswick only as if it were a piggy bank to be broken and robbed.

NewsToday gives no sense of the extent of violence and suffering in this world. Syria gets a casual mention - though I can't recall the Irving press ever admitting that the US started that war and has provided money and support for the Al Quaeda mercenaries who our papers refer to as rebels.

Millions have been displaced. Millions are starving. Hundreds of thousands are crippled or orphaned in a land that has no resources to help them.Syria did nothing to the US. It has never threatened to attack the US. So why is the US attacking it? Two reasons stand out.

1. the national leader, Assad does not always do what the US government tells him to do. That was why they attacked Libya, too - and why Canada joined in to kill people with air strikes.

2. The US wants Syria as a nation to be destroyed, partly because this will help Israel to be the dominant power in the region. For this, millions will die or be crippled or displaced. Almost all those who survive will be impoverished.

So tell me more stories of how evil Hitler was, and how Obama is a good man.

In a related case, Conservative and former British p.m.John Major is pressing for the release of conversations  between George Bush Jr. and Labour leader Tony Blair. Actually, everybody knows what's in them - but this would make it official.

Blair and Bush lied about the reason for invading Iraq, murdering over one and a half million. There was no connection with 9/11. There were no weapons of mass destruction. The invasion of Iraq was to steal the Iraq oil fields.

The killing of one and a half million, the crippling of millions, the millions of orphans with no means to look after them, the impoverishment of a nation, an impoverishment  which still persists - all of this was done to satisfy the greed of American and British oil billionaires.

That invasion was illegal under international law. Bush and Blair are war criminals. We freely hanged people after world war 11 who had done less criminal things that that. But we made Bush and Blair extremely rich men. And Christian clergy all over North America pranced up to the pulpit to thank God for helping to save democracy.

So - tell me more about Hitler.

Nor does NewsToday give any indication of the flooding of Africa with American troops, including very large numbers of mercenaries, on assignment to carry out murders and destabilize governments. In fact, the US depends so heavily on these hired thugs (sorry - 'contractors') that very large number have been posted to Afghanistan.

The editorial is stunning hypocrisy. It says doctors should keep their noses out of politics. It particularly refers to Dr. Cleary, Chief Medical Officer. It grossly misrepresents the meaning of her report of a year ago. Then it was "Leave the Politics to the politicians."

The thought that occured to me was 'thou hypcrites". But that fell short. So I thought, "thou ignorant, vicious, ass-kissing bastards."

They would not dare say such a thing about business interference in politics - though the level of that interference has been gross and even unconstitutional.

And doctors should not speak about economic issues, but leave it to the experts? Really?

Are our politicians experts? Are our business leaders experts? If they are, why is this province such an economic mess when they've been running the show for generations?

In fact, who the hell are the editor of Bill Belliveau or Norbert to write about economic and political issues daily? They write about this sort of thing constantly though with so little evidence of intelleetual ability I suspect than none of them could find his own belly button using both hands.

That editorial is ignorant, coarse, and so illogical it must be deliberately lying./ And, being unsigned, it is cowardly.

What a disgusting, lying, ignorant, servile, trivial paper!

On the Faith Page, we learn that Dundas Baptist Church is breaking new ground for the faithful by having a spaghetti supper AND bazaar. Jesus is alive and well in Moncton.

/Today's sermonette is all about how some people misquote The Bible. I think I see a theme to  this Faith Page now.

The sermonette never has anything to do with the full meaning of faith. The same is true of church activities like spaghetti dinners and bazaars.

Y'ree, the big thing in to be saved. Once you're saved, you're home free. Just jump up and down, say "I believe" several times, and perhaps get dunked. And that's it. You go to heaven where you sit naked on clouds and look down on sinners being tortured by nasty animals - or you walk on gold streets, and praise God all day. (The Bible is contradictory on the precise details.)

The rest of The Bible doesn't matter. Like, Ya got yer ten commandments, parables, stuff like that - skip them. The trouble with those other parts is that they wont let you do things you want to do - like, you know,  ignoring or condemning other people.

We live in an astonishingly  unChristian Canada. A major theme in our newspaper and among the wealthy is that greed is good. Yeah. Greed is good because it creates wealth. Times are tough? Then dump on the poor and the  homeless. But keep giving money to the rich. Then someday, maybe, some of it will come down to us.

Send medicine to Africa to cure Aids. But when you send a million boxes over, make sure our drug companies get full retail price (80% profit) for each box.

Don't let the poor move into subsidized housing in your neighbourhood. It interferes with God's plan for you to keep property values up.

Kill lots of people all over the world. Most of them are poor, anyway. Yuckie-poo.

Never discuss any of this bad stuff. You are a Christian.  That means you're been saved. So all you have to do is live in a good neighbourhood, wash frequently, get dressed up on Sunday to listen to a sermon guaranteed not to offend anybody, And attend dinners with spaghetti and a bazaar.

Oh, and pray for the poor. It doesn't cost anything. And you don't have to meet any of them.

On a larger scale, the Christian churches with only rare exceptions have led the way in patriotic cheering for the government - no matter how vicious it might be. Our churches cheered for the slaughter in Iraq. We joined the one in Afghanistan - though you'll have a hard time finding any justification of it in the teachings of Jesus.

(The clergyman who spoke at Harper's parade for those who died in Afghanistan (just those on our side) was fatuous enough to babble about how they died to save our democracy. Christian churches on both sides have usually supported their own countries. (Well, maybe they all have different versions of The Bible.).

The churches has smiled on the very rich even as those rich have created poverty here and around the world, and even as the newspapers of the rich print the gospel of how greed is good.

It's been like that for centuries. The Christian churches led in European slaughters of Jews, just as they now, if quietly. support the slaughter of Moslems.

As I read those sermonettes, all seem to be about topics that are oh so safe. You're saved. Clap hands. That's it.

It must make Jesus wonder why he wasted his time..

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 29: painful...

Norbert, the master of saying nothing, outdoes himself today.

We have a provincial financial disaster looming. His answer? "If our politicians won't lead us, should other citizens step up?"

Norbert, in a democracy, it's other citizens who elect the politicians - based on the full information and informed opinion  spread by the news media. When other citizens step up to take over that role, it's called a revolution.

And those "other citizens" are likely, very likely, to be the people with money and clout and influence who don't give a damn about the economic survival of the province - but do give a damn about the state of their own finances.

As well, there is no reason to think these other citizens have any more brains or expertise than the government does.

Anyway, in a democracy, it's hard to imagine anything more thoughtless and irresponsible than encouraging "other citizens" to step up and take over from the government. If fact, it probably comes very close to being illegal.

Nor does Mr. Cunningham's contempt for democracy end there. He also feels all the parties should work together on a non-partisan plan to deal with this crisis.

Norbert - the whole idea  of a democracy is that the opposition parties are there to find weak points (or weak concepts) in the govenment's plans, not to clap hands for them. To do otherwise is to reject the right of large numbers of voters to have any opinion at all, and to deprive them of the right to have a voice in their own futures.

And that, I might add, is based on the simple-minded view that there is one, right way to solve this problem. So no others can even be discussed.

Of course, according to Norbert, there is no choice of what must be done. We must tax the poor, cut their services, and cut taxes to the rich - among other things.

For those of wisdom, he suggests that whose who step forward should be the city mayors. I can't even imagine why that would be a good idea. Or credible business leaders (as opposed to incredible ones). Or academics.

Has it not occurred to you, Norbert, that such a collection might disagree with each other? So - poof - there goes your revolution as the revolutionaries disagree with each other.

Fundamentally, what Norbert is saying in his strikingly simple-minded column is that the solution, the only possible solution to our economic problem is obvious. All we need are rebels to enforce it. Sounds like Russia in 1917.

Norbert - don't you know that big business has been running this province from the start. (read a little bit of history). Our politicians and academics never have run it. It's been our "credible" businessmen who have dictated spending and taxing policies. Mr. Irving even appointed the the government's economic advisors.

They use your newspaper (and you) for propaganda. They constantly interfere in government affairs. They constantly hold conferences to tell government what to do (with university presidents and other distinguished people present as potted plants.)

Mr. Irving has even declared himself a member of the government - something illegal, and something the Irving press never even noticed.

If this province is in economic trouble, it's big business that put it there. Those irresponsible looters are the last people I would choose to fix things. An   austerity programme will not create prosperity by firing people, closing services, raising taxes for the poor and middle class, lowering taxes for the rich, and encouraging people to drink more beer (which seem to be the main elements of NB political thinking so far.)

What we need is an honest and informed press to make us aware of the possibilities. Instead, we get an inarticulate cry to abandon democracy and call on our most distinguished citizens (who will be the usual suspects.)

If I were a suspicious person - and I am a suspicious person - I would guess that Norbert was told what to write. And I would guess that the distinguished citizens who are to step forward have already picked themselves.                                                                                                                                                  
Norbert's column today is crashingly ignorant. And dangerous.
Rod Allen once more tells his only joke (wife no. 1) - and that has to carry the burden of a boring and irrelevant column.

The columns for Jody Dallaire and Alec Bruce are stimulating breaks from the other bilge on the editorial and op ed pages.

By the way, I wonder how many noticed a letter to the edtior a couple of days ago in which a reader referred to the bombing of 9/11 as an act of infamy. 3,000 innocent people were killed.

The United States government, without legal reason and often without warning, has killed innocent people, including babies, children, whole hospitals full of the injured - uncounted millions of them. In that company, 9/11 wasn't even a side show.

But I have never seen a letter referring to Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya as "acts of infamy". Of course not. We're conditioned to think that way. Those "other" people are evil. Our side is good. To kill North Americans is infamy. To kill millions of  Asians and Africans is - well - they aren't real people, are they?
Good luck with the rest of the paper.

There's a good story on A5, "Drug plan is too costly". A 6 has a big story that a new beer is coming to New Brunswick.

In NewsToday, on C1, is a story about Romeo Dallaire that is well worth a read - if only to be reassured that this country still produces some very fine people - and infinitely superior to the "distinguished" citizens that Norbert calls forth.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 22: predicting the future

Nobody, except the editors of Irving papers, can predict the future with certainty. But there are times when you can be pretty sure. . So let's take a try at the future based on today's sacred script by Norbert Cunningham.

New Brunswick is deeply, dangerously, in debt. Just as Norbert says, cuts will be made to social services, education - and there will be rises to taxation. We shall have to adjust, says Norbert, to at least 20 years of   "reduced expectations".

It's cute when it's put that way. I mean, "reduced expectations" makes it sound as if we've been pampered all these years, and now we have to pay for it. I mean, we can't go on forever throwing money to the winds with things like EI for seasonal industries. And hospitals and health care? Come one, folks. Reduce your expectations. Forget about living as long as possible. I mean, after retirement, you're just a drag on the economy. Think of others.

And schools? Way too expensive because the schools don't understand business methods. . We're spending over our heads. But there are cures for that. Norbert sees all the cures I have listed above.

He's even thought of industries to encourage, like the resource industry. Those will make us rich,( yeah like the way they've made the people of Congo and Central America rich. (He also doesn't mention the resource industries' dreadful record of environmental destruction but, hey, ya gotta beak eggs to make omelets.)

 He doesn't mention the events centre, either. Well, no. That's  something some rich people want - with us to pay for it. Unlike schools and hospitals, they say, it's a money maker  - unless.......

.....unless you notice that New Brunswick is not the only heavily indebted part of the world. The world of big business is so consumed by its greed, so lacking in any sense of morality except getting money, and so deficient in reasoning that it is getting close to destroying the sources of its wealth and, indeed, destroying itself. As a small side effect, there may not be a whole lot of people lining up the events centre box office to hear a country singer sing through  his nose.

The mess in the Ukraine began with a decision of international bankers that it had to adopt the sort of austerity budget that Norbert advocates for us. The same thing has already happened to Greece. It's happening in the US with cuts in employment, in food, and in schools.

It's happened in Ireland, and it's begun to happen in Britain. In fact, there are very few countries - maybe none -where it's not going to happen. And, yes. It will happen across Canada.

Gee, when y' stop an' think about it, that sorta suggests - well -either some force we haven't examined is causing this - or New Brunswick is the cause of debt problems all over the world.

But, no, New Brunswick is not the cause. The cause is a distorted form of capitalism collapsing under the weight of its own, unlimited greed - and political systems dominated by corruption and, really, the slavering servants of the very, very rich.

It's always been like that. But now it's been made infinitely worse by the deregulation of business under Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher - and by free trade which isn't free at all for those who have to live under it. The freedom is all for the major corporations to make maximum profits no matter what hardship that may cause for the people who have to live under it.

There's a reason why Detroit is a hell-hole of misery, with other American cities joining it.

This crisis was not caused by the working class and the middle class buying fine wines, luxury cars, and mansions. Nor will it be solved by pretending they did cause it, and punishing them.

Following that route is going to take us straight into violence That's why we suddenly need secret agents spying on all of us. We, all of us, are the enemy. We have to be controlled.

You think those armies of spies are there to save us from terrorists? Hell, drunk drivers kill more North Americans than terrorist do. No. The enemy is you.

And how will big business help to solve this indebtedness problem? I thought you'd never ask.

It will privatize all those social services. In other words, the only people who will get social services will be those with enough money that they really don't need them. We'll see a creeping privatization of the schools. (In fact, it's already begun with big business interfering with testing and introducing  a useless, propaganda course on entrepreneurship.)

Next, we'll see see school fees slapped on select schools which will be the ones your children MUST go to if they want to get ahead at all) It's happened in Britain; it's happened in the US. And it's a disaster
Parents who can't afford the fee schools (most of them) have to stay in the regular schools which are deliberately underfunded and overcrowded. The US, in particular, has plunged in world education ratings.

Free public education with equal opportunity for every child is a foundation stone of democracy. We're going to sink it, and democracy in one shot.

We'll see the same creeping privatization of medicare. It's already creeping with business methods being forced on hospital administrations. Next, we will see the key, business method imposed - "if they can't pay, the hell with them." And that will move our life expectancy and life-long health  into the same, dark regions as the US.

This, and much more, is coming our way.

But surely big business wouldn't be so heartless as to do that to us?  Dream on.

Amost every war, with its horrors we can never imagine from news reports, has been economic. Our reports from, say Syria, hardly begin to tell the story. It's not just the dead or the crippled or the orphaned. Syria is ia country being systematically destroyed. The survivors will never recover what they go through. The lives of children, orphaned or not, will be twisted forever. And that war is being financed by big money from the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the emirates. And do you think those with the big money stay awake at night thinking about what they are doing?

They don't give a damn. They didn't give a damn about the millions killed in Vietnam. They didn't give a damn about the million and a half killed in Iraq (and, probably, the destruction of that whole society). The mining company directors have never worried about the million killed so they could loot Congo on the cheap. They didn't care about the hundreds of thousands of civilians deliberately slaughtered in Guatemala. They didn't care about the poverty and wretchedness of Haiti, so when Haitians at last got rid of dictators imposed by the US and elected a president who tried to  help them, the US invaded, and deported him. And Canada sent "peacekeepers" to help lower the Haitians once again into hopelessness.

And for all the portraits of themselves the very rich may hang in 'philanthropic' halls of fame, they don't give a damn about you and me.

All they understand is taking.

Most of the world, including Russia and China, is under the same, twisted and uncontrolled perversion of capitalism. Most of it is ruled by oligarchies, groups of the very, very rich with politicians as decorative additions. Take your pick - Canada, US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Ukraine - they are all the same, immoral and uncaring lot, completely absorbed in their own greed. (Notice that Ukraine's last government was led by an international banker who planned to submit Ukraine to the same austerity that Norbert speak of for New Brunswick. And the new one is led by a billionaire.)

Would such people reduce us to poverty? You bet they would. It's the only thing they know how to do.

We have to balance the budget? Okay. So let's do what nobody seems to have done. Let's find out where the money has gone. How much was lost through taxes that some people don't have to pay? How much was lost in welfare programmes for big business?

Contrary to what Irving press may tell you, it was not caused by the poor, demanding the right to earn as much money in a year of hard work  as an Irving might earn while having a morning coffee.

Surely, if you're looking for huge sums of money being spirited away for so many years, you look for the cause in the mansions and the overseas bank accounts, not in the sleeping nooks of the homeless.
The process of looting New Brunswick has been going on for a long time. We're now at the crisis point.

If we continue like this, what you will see all over the world is violence, even chaos. It will be the war of a handful of the very rich against the rest, with the political and spying stooges and the hired thugs on the side of the very rich.

That would be tragic from every point of view. But you don't have much time to stop it. And I don't see a single party out there saying what needs to be said.

New Brunswickers need to get angry. And to do that, they first have to wake up.

I didn't say much about the Times and Transcript because there just was nothing much in it. One piece of news of some importance which didn't make it is that the Canadian military command says that rape is NOT a part of Canadian military culture.

That rather conflicts with recent reports of amazingly high rates of rape in our armed forces.

(Actually, contempt for women is encouraged in many armies - including ones on our side.  It's believed to encourage aggressive instincts.)

Our military command has promised to study whether the rate is high. Personally, I find that I lack confidence in such a study by people who announce before the study has even begun that there is no problem.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May: 25:The biggest blunder in history?

First -  a brief announcement. Much as I enjoy writing this blog, it takes hours out of every day, leaving almost no time for anything else The other things I have to do combine with the blog to  keep me up every night until ten or so - and dead tired most of the time I'm working.

A second surprise for me is that this blog which deals with a shabby Canadian newspaper chain has over half its audience in the US, and another large part in Russia, Ukraine. even China. (Haven't quite figured that part out, yet.)

So I have decided to get a life. The blog will appear in future on Tuesday. Thursday and Saturday That cycle begins on May 27.

Now to business.
Our North American private media won't say so. But the US has committed what may well be the greatest diplomatic blunder in history.

For centuries, Russia and China have been enemies. But US threatening, sanctions, all repeated by our own yelping lapdog, Stephen Harper, have now made them the closest of friends. If the North American press hasn't figured out what the foofaraw in Ukraine is about, the Chinese government has.

The US is attempting to destroy the two most powerful countries that stand in its way of world domination.

So, old enemies China and Russia signed one of the biggest energy agreements in history. The agreement includes each becoming the other's most important trade partner. Linked with it are agreements to be military allies, and to share military research programmes.

Other partners, like Iran, are sure to added. Leery as these potential partners are of Russian and Chinese power, they also have the reality of American bullying and exploitation to deal with.

Most of our news media crowed that Russia had been diplomatically isolated. That's some isolation. The reality is that the US is close to isolation in South America, very vulnerable to it in Africa, divided on it in Asia. Only in sagging Europe (and Canada) does the US enjoy wide support.

This could reverse the seeming direction of world history. I don't know who to blame. There are so many power sources in the US, some of them legal, some of them illegal. Was American policy shaped by those businessmen who follow Dick Cheney's aggressive world domination banner? Was it shaped by a government apparatus so vast and  so steeped in greed and the lust for power that it had no judgement at all? Or was it Obama?

My guess is it wasn't Obama. He has never shown any depth or conviction on anything, good or bad. I would guess the others - the Dick Cheney gang, big business and a government apparatus both huge and out of control.

Much of the takeover of Ukraine had to do Ukraine's debt, and the interests of those who hold that debt.

At the end of World War Two, the International  Monetary Fund was established. It seemed a good idea.Money would be made available, especially to poor countries to carry out projects essential for development.

The trouble was that the fund was dominated by big business which saw the whole thing only in terms of making profits Consequently, it forced economic policies on borrowing countries that guaranteed big business even bigger profits even as the borrowers got lesser benefits.

A common example is borrowing to supply clean water to a country. Poorer countries needed pipelines, filtration plants.....but couldn't afford them. So the IMF   would lend them the money - with just a few conditions.
1. The system would have be built by private contractors - commonly American.
2.Ownership of the system would have to be private - commonly American.
3.ALL fresh water in the country would belong to the company - even that which fell as rain. (Anyone who put out as much as a water barrel could be in real trouble.)
4. People would have to pay for every drop of water they used.
In some countries, the price of water became so high that it exceeded the cost of food. Profits for the American owners were good. But it reduced the poor to lives of animals with access only to tainted water.

This has also happened in the drug industry where prices are kept artificially high. And if any agency wants to buy millions of dollars of drugs to send to people in Africa dying of, say, AIDS, it has to pay the full RETAIL price for every pill hat is sent. Result, hundreds of thousands, at least, suffer and die from a sickness that could have been cured.  Real sweethearts, those people in the drug industry.

Another drug company is in the courts. There is a common weed in Asia that grows wild - and has been used for centuries as a medicine for a variety of ailments. The drug company is claiming patent rights for ownership of the wild weed so that any person using it must buy it from the company. How's that for entrepreneurship?

The new president of Ukraine was chosen for cases like the above. Ukraine is heavily in debt. His job is to set an economic policy which will make sure the IMF and its friends get their money back. And that means Ukraine is in for one hell of a time - because the IMF people seem to have learned their economics from Norbert Cunningham and Bill Belliveau. Austerity's the word.

Hammer the poor with taxes and cut social services to the needy. Reduce the income taxes of the super rich.

It won't work for the society. It never has. But it works for the rich.

All of the above is about to be intensified around the world, including New Brunswick.

I hear that the big target for he immediate future is the privatization of water. Others, already well under way are creeping privatization of schools (a crashing failure in the US and Britain), privatization of police and of prisons (stunningly expensive and ineffective) and, of course, privatization of medical care.

None of this makes any economic or social sense. But pure greed is running wild in big business. And pure greed softens brains that never were impressive even in their best days..

I mean, pure greed is the way we end up with newspapers like the Irving press.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 24: IRock closes.

That's big news for the Irving press. Front page news. It seems nightclub attendance has been dropping in Moncton, so a number of clubs have closed. Let's see now. Nightclubs are closing because people aren't interested in them as they used to be. But if people aren't interested as they used to be in nightclubs, who wants to read a front page story about it - especially one that says almost nothing?

Why don't people go to clubs as much? Does this signal some kind of a change in society? What does it mean? Really, you don't have a story if you have nothing to say. And you certainly don't have a front page story.

The only interesting story in Section A is on A7, "Postal workers want answers from MP'. It seems that Moncton area postal workers collected thousands of petitions signed by people in Moncton to be tabled in the House of Commons. The MP they gave it to was Robert Goguen. Big mistake.

Collecting such petitions for delivery to parliament is not an unusual practice. After all, citizens surely have a right to present their views to their elected members. Certainly, when Harper has something to present to the people, MPs like Goguen run their  little tootsies off to get the information out. But, no, not the other way around.

Mr. Goguen is probably the least newsworthy politician I have ever seen. As a politician, he seems to be strictly an errand boy. So it's nice to see him in the news for something.The one is probably the high point of his political career.
NewsToday begins with "Pipelines could mean lower gas prices: expert".

First, why call him an 'expert'? In fact, he's an economist for the Bank of Montreal. He has a job as an economist. I was once employed by Bell as the person who took stacks of phone bills to be mailed, put them in a machine that shoved them into envelopes and sealed them. then  dumped them into mail bags.  But nobody ever labelled me an expert on taking stacks of phone bills to be mailed, put into a machine that shoved them into envelopes and sealed them, then  dumped them into mail bags.

So he's an economist. Canada has tens of thousands of economists of varying quality. Who decided this one was an expert? Well, we know - it was the editor who almost certainly has no qualifications to make such a judgement. But why bother to make such a judgement?

Because this is a propaganda story. It's as always, pushing for whatever the oil industry wants. And right now, it wants a pipeline to the east coast.

Note, too, the use of the word COULD. It could mean lower gas prices. Could is not a confident word. It could mean lower gas prices. Or it might not. And by the time we find out, our money will be long gone in profits for the pipeline builders.

There's another "nothing" story on Ukraine. "Putin vows to respect results of election." As always, the latter half of the story is full of hints and suggestions that Russia caused this whole crisis. No evidence is presented. There is far more evidence the US caused it all. But that is never even mentioned.

And the US continues, as it  has for years, to penalize Iran for working to build a nuclear bomb - with Israel claiming, as it has for years, that Iran could launch a bomb at any time - and so Israel has been putting pressure on the US to attack Iran - or to support an Israeli attack.

For many years now, this farce has been going on with the US threatening war, imposing sanctions, and making ever wilder charges. For the same years, UN inspectors have said that Iran is not working on a bomb. On a few occasions, even American intelligence has admitted that.

On D5, the UN nuclear agency has announced that there ain't no bomb, and there isn't nearly enough material to make even one.

But it won't matter. American and British oil companies want Iran - the way it was in the good old days, the days when Iran was required to fuel the whole British navy without charge, the days when an elected Iranian government tried to break free of that, only to be crushed by the American and British who imposed a dictator on it. So the Iranians kicked out the dictators, insisted on running their own country - and earned the ever lasting hatred of  American governments.

And why does Israel want a war? Simply because it intends to be the dominant power in the region. That's part of the reason why Syrians are being slaughtered right now.

Bill Beliveau has a column on New Brunswick's financial crisis. It is based entirely on the  report by Atlantic Institute of Market Studies.  Nowhere does he mention that AIMS is a big business propaganda outfit. Then he tell us us about the "eminent" nature of the study group -a vice-president of J.D. Irving Ltd., a McCain who is president of an agribusiness outfit, other worthies from big business - and their usual toadies from the academic world.

And you know what?  They don't blame big business at all for this crisis. Wow! Talk about impartial.

And their cures are designed to make you pay for the price of their greed. And it's all based on economic theory that should have died a natural death over eighty years ago.

Bill, you have not the faintest knowledge of economics. But you should at least have the common sense to know what AIMS is and who it really represents.

And if you do know that - and you write a column on an AIMS report without once telling us what AIMS really is, then you are dishonest.

Norbert does exactly the same thing.

Both columnists are either amazingly naive, or they are doing the dirty work of the very wealthy of this province by pushing an economic cure that will benefit the rich while making everyone else suffer.

And I don't think anyone can be that naive. This is just contemptible journalism.
Brent Mazerolle has a column defending Prince Charles for his remark that Putin was just like Hitler. "Right on', says our Brent. Of course. He and Charles have similar IQs.

Brent - you have no idea what you are talking about. Your knowledge of history is partieularly appalling.
1. Stalin was never on our side in the first place in WW2? No. Neither were we on his side. Nations don't usually go to war because they're on somebody's side. They do it for their own interest. That's why it took the US so long to decide it was on our side.
For example, the US bombed a Free French destroyer, killing many of the crew, when it tried to "liberate" a French colony. That's because the US wanted it for itself. For the same reason, they ordered the British not to liberate Hong Kong. However, they backed off when the British went in anyway because, unlike the French, the British had a substantial fleet in the Pacific..

For another example, the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki not to end the war. They did it as a display to warn their Russian allies of the new weapon they had.

2. Jews in Russia and Ukraine were worried about Hitler? Hell, Russia and Ukraine were world leaders in anti-semitism long before Hitler was born. Ukrainians rounded up their Jews and killed them without waiting for German help in World War 2. They also volunteered in very large and enthusiastic numbers to join the Nazi armies. In fact, Ukraine still has a very large Nazi party - and it is in the cabinet of the new government.

Hitler murdered Jews by the millions. And now, says professor Brent, Putin is doing about the same. Brent, do you have the slightest evidence for that statement?

3. Stalin and Hitler invaded other countries? What a flash! And can you name one, major country in all of human history that has not invaded and looted and murdered?
What on earth do you think the British Empire was? Do you think it was okay to murder, to loot resources (as in South Africa), to force countries to buy opium (as in China)? Do you have the faintest idea how murderous the British Empire was?
And what do you think the US has been doing since 1775 if not invading and looting other countries. The world is in turmoil now largely because of American aggression, killing of uncounted millions, imposed starvation. the biggest torture network in history, and the destruction of whole nations like Libya, Syria, Iraq.....
Would you have defended Charles if he had said Bush and Obama (and Tony Blair) are just like Hitler. There's a strong case that they are. And maybe worse.

Your comment that Putin staged an invasion of Ukraine just as Hitler had done to Austria is pure drivel. The Ukraine affair did not begin with the Russia occupation of Crimea. It began when somebody set up a government coup in Ukraine. The occupation of Crimea was a reaction, not an action.

I'm sure Charles is a nice guy - really. But he is slow. It runs in the family.

Oh, I don't know where you got the story about Edward marrying Wallie Simpson in order to cover his enthusiasm for Hitler That would make no sense since he was in a stronger position to play games with Hitler when he had the crown.  Besides, Edward never had the brains to plan any such thing. He makes Charles look like Einstein.

Brent Mazerolle also fails to mention other big admirers of Hitler - Henry Ford, a great many major figures in business in the US and Canada, Prime Minister Mackenzie King, the whole immigration departments of Canada and the US which refused to allow escaped Jews to enter our countries - even after the war.

General Patton of the US army was a typical member of the American upper class. He despised Jews, and rather admired Hitler.  Oh, and Jewish owners of Hollywood film companies cooperated closely with Hitler - and against Jews in Europe. Test me on that one, Brent. I dare you.

Gwynne Dyer has the only column worth reading in the whole paper.
The sermonette on the Faith Page is "Prayer is about talking to God". Yep. Yep. Yep.
I think I begin to understand why so many Christians put all the emphasis on believing and praying and stuff like that. It leaves little room, usually no room, for consideration of those many things that faith supposedly requires us to do.

We live in a world that is really in contradiction of  most principles of every religion I ever heard of. A small incident that reminded me of that is the chaplain at Harper's tribute to Afghanistan vets. He said, "They died to protect our democracy". What an inane statement! But the reverent bowed their heads for it.

The thinking seems to be this. To be saved and to walk on the golden streets, all you have to do is to believe  in Jesus - and have the occasional chat with God.  Do that, and you're covered.
You don't really need to do messy things like love your neighbour, help others, challenge behaviour of your political and business leaders that is obviously anti-Christian.

In fact, in a pinch you can make heaven just by believing in Jesus. Do that, and you don't have to behave like a Christian at all.

That's why the sermonettes never touch on the real world. It would just upset people.

And a word of appreciation for the student columnists in the Whatever section. With all the world of a school year, it's a job and a half to get out a column every week. And these columns are always well-written. And that is surely remarkable. It suggests to me not only good students, but some pretty good teaching going on in the schools.

Well done. Whenever I get glum about the world, this student columnists section reminds me there's hope.


Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23: The Irving press couldn't find much news in the world- so let's help them

A big problem with New Brunswick politicis, I think, is that politicians get their news from the Irving press. So just to pep up the range of topics for election debate, here is some information they haven't seen - and won't see - in this dreadful papers.

1. Of each new dollar generated in Canada in the 14 years, 66 cents has gone to the wealthiest 20%. Twenty-three cents has gone to the middle class. Ten-cents, count them, ten, have gone to the rest of us.

The result of this is that the wealthiest 86 Canadians - not the wealthiest 86% - the wealthiest 86 people in this country Could buy EVERTHING in New Brunswick that is privately owned - including all housing, half a million cars and other motor vehicles, all pension plans, jewelry, clothing, stocks and bonds - everything. And still have billions left over.

So much for journalistic drivel about how the very rich "create" wealth which trickles down to us. In fact, it doesn't trickle down. It never has. It trickles up; and the rich get rich by looting the poor.

2. The very rich do NOT create wealth for anybody except themselves  You don't need statistics to know that. You just need eyes and some basic reading skills. Look at those countries where the rich have been growing fat for years - Central America, Africa, the United States - all of them are suffering massive poverty. There are very, very wealthy people in Europe and Canada. whose fortunes have soared in the last twenty years.

But they haven't created wealth for anybody but themselves. Everybody else has suffered a relative drop in income.

This is a hint for our Conservatives and Liberals to stop babbling about grand projects to restore prosperity to New Brunswick through the wonders of capitalism. There are no wonders. So here's a hint, kiddies -
stop babbling about get rich quick schemes in shale gas and events centres and neat ideas. Stop this nonsense of cutting services off from the poor just when they need them. Anyway, none of that has anything to do with our budget woes.

Stick with capitalism if you will. But learn that capitalism like anything else cannot be allowed to run wild. It has to submit to regulation; and it has to made to serve the greater social purpose.

I"m not sure that it can be done peacefully any more. The leading capitalists may have become too powerful and too contemptuous of the law to even think of themselves as citizens any more. And, certainly, I have seen no sign of either courage or brains for such a challenging job in either the Liberals or the Conservatives.

Tell you what. Why not pretend the rich of this province are native people?. Then we could call out some of those guys with the neat camouflage suits and the combat rifles,

3. Depending on how it's counted, some 21% of all land in the whole world is owned by 15 people. Here in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Maine, three Irving brothers owns 3.6 million acres.

That doesn't count thousands of squares miles of forest Alward gave to them on the cheap to loot. Apparently, the government has no problem with offering social services to people who are rich. It's the poor ones they feel the money would be wasted on.

4. In 2013, Canada was involved in an UN committee discussing the sale of arms around the world, including those to private buyers. Before the meeting in invited a number of groups from the gun lobby, affiliated with the Natonal Rifle Association in the US. They appear to have been invited at the insistence of Defence Minister Baird. He did not invited any anti-gun group.

Then, the president of an NRA-affiliated group was in included in the "non-partisan" Canadian delegation to the US. (Funny that wasn't mentioned in the Irvinig press). His role in the gun lobby was not mentioned in forms sent to the UN.)

Result - thanks to Canada, the NRA had got in to negotiations at the world's highest level for domestic gun sales. (I know. This has nothing to do with the NB election. But you might keep it in back of your mind for the federal one.)

5. Then there's this NB school board that has adopted a course in entrepreneurship that will be taught to every student in every year from K to 12. And it will be directed by businessmen who know nothing about education. As well, it seems this is happening across Canada.

One might reasonably ask - "What the hell is any group of businessmen doing pushing its way into the school system?  Ever hear of teachers demanding the right to run certain departments of Irving Oil?

There's an article on this in CCPA Monitor of May 2014. I doubt whether Irving reporters would ever read this. It's left wing. They read and report on far right groups like Atlantic Institute of Market Studies - and they do it without even telling us what it is. So, here I'm telling you. CCPA Monitor is left wing.

In it is an article by Laura Elizabeth Pinto of the faculty of the Ontario Institute of Technology's Faculty of Education.- - who has just written a book on the subject of teaching entrepreneurship. She says that thirty years of research have not shown it to have any value. It doesn't work. It's a waste of time. It takes time away from more important subjects. And it's misguided because it defines all problems as being created by the schools and the governments - while ignoring the colossal human and social failings of business.

So one might ask of the Minister of Education why the hell she handed over our children to a completely unqualified bunch of propagandists? These are our children. These are your children. Where the hell were the parents' associations while all this was happening?

I can understand a school board approving it. Most boards have few who know anything about education, are heavily politlicized - and it's all made worse by parents' ssociations (Home and School, etc.) who think that their only purpose is to make tea.                                        

This is real damage being done to our children - and it's just an early stage of much, much greater business interfering in something it has no business in - and of which it is largely ignorant.

This could and should be an election issue.

Lots of stuff in here that the Irving press never mentioned. Much of it could provide policy ideas for the election. Instead. The Irving press will continue to keep us in ignorance. And most of the politicians will continue to spin neat ideas that are simple-minded and out of touch with any reality.

Oh, and the NDP proposes tougher laws on drunk driving. Well, that should certainly solve all our social and economic problems.
The big news on the US-Ukraine-Russia turmoil isn't in today's paper. Russia has signed a thirty-year fuel deal with China. The deal implies the shaping of an alliance to defend half the world against US aggression, with others, like Iran, probably to be added. So much for the big talk of isolating Russia.

In other words, without using violence, Putin has reshaped the strategic and diplomatic world - and he has done it to the disadvantage of the west.  Great leadership, Obama and Kerry. The American government has blown almost everything it has undertaken in the last fifty years and more.

It's wars have killed millions and destroyed whole nations - and with no improvement whatever to anything. And it has done so at enormous cost to itself. Now, it has re-created the cold war - with no sign whatsoever this will cause any improvement of anything.

There is not the slightest chance that Russia staged that coup against the Ukraine government. After all, the loser in the coup was Russia's man. The obvious response for the US, if it wanted to avoid trouble, was to immediately work out common ground with Russia. Instead, it opted for bluster and threats, assisted by stooges like Harper.

At every stage, Putin avoided threats.. Instead, he has used the master stroke of starting an Asian alliance. Putin has won this round. Unfortunately, this will not end the crisis. Indeed, it makes the situation even more dangerous.

The businessmen who are the real planners of American policy may feel they have to go to war now before Russia builds an alliance that is too big and too strong to deal with. And that could well shape a war in which ALL of the world's nuclear powers would participate.

At no point in this did Obama and Perry make any serious attempt at negotiation. From the start, it was threats. This could have been a moment that would make the world less dangerous. Instead, it is one that has made it much, much more dangerous.

I have mixed feelings about Alec Bruce's column. I loved the title. I wasn't crazy about the solution.
I agree that the election speeches we're hearing and brainless and irrelevant. But I don't think the public service is too big. And I don't think that getting collaboration across party lines makes any sense at all.

A government is not simply a business enterprise. It has obligations to the whole of society that a business does not have. A party should be based on senses of what society should be, of what obligations we have to each other. Business does not have any ethics or any responsibility or anything that could be called a philosophy of what a society should be. A politician must have those. And it is on those that a party should base its  actions.

Most of ours don't.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 22 "Events generate $7M in Metro"

My, it gets tedious to read a paper every day  when it has nothing in it. Today, alas, is no exception.
The title of this blog is, in fact, today's banner headline on A1. Yes, indeed, just four major events of last summer generated some 70 person-years of employment. Wow!

Put in another way, 70 person-years of employment means steady jobs for two people - tops.Scratch the wow!

But exactly where did all the money go? Who got it? How much stayed in Moncton? There's not a word.

And, again, we see an example of the obsession of this province to make money, but without having any list of priorities for the spending of it. Once again, we start with money instead of with people.

A9 has a story worth reading on the disappearance of bats in this province. The rest of section A is just village chatter.
NewsToday, the section that keeps us up on all the world's news, is three pages - one of the usual slosh on the Royal visit. One story is "Prince 'not shy' about his views: expert". This follows his expression that Putin "is doing just about the same as Hitler." The tone of  the story is that Charles is fearless in expressing his political views.

The reality is he expresses those views because he knows little about politics or anything else. For centuries, the royal family has produced offspring of decidedly low intelligence, and more than a few of serious mental problems. Charles has the misfortune to be one of them,

The British have had a long run of luck in King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, both of whom played their roles superbly. But that has been very exceptional.

Putin is doing the same as Hitler? In what respect can he possibly mean that? If he's thinking of torture, mass killing, constant war, invasions to loot nations or simply to destroy them, the closest comparisons with Hitler are Obama and Bush.

The fact that Charles can get away with his silly statement is important because it reflects much of our analysis of the news. Our news media whip us into a hatred of  those the American war-lords want us to hate - often with comparisons to Hitler. And the theme is so constant we come to believe it without thinking about it.

Could Putin become a Hitler? I  have no idea. Has he been one? Nowhere close.

There are a couple of stories  on the legislature and the coming election. I have no idea why. Neither Liberals nor Conservatives seem to have anything regarding a philosophy - or a programme on anything.

Both are big on reducing the budget without a whole hell of a lot of thought about what that means. Both seem to think of it in cutting social services and reducing taxes for the rich. Never mind that such policies don't work, never have worked, and never will.

As well, such a policy would abandon the poor just when they need help - and shovel more money to the rich just when they're making more than they ever have. That's what brought on the intense suffering of the Great Depression.

It seems not to occur to them that our practice of giving to the rich has been a major cause of our economic crisis by creating a record wage gap.  In other words, we create a crisis by taking money from everybody else and giving it to the very rich. Then we make the poor pay for it with lost services and higher taxes.

That creates a bigger wage gap. So we hammer the poor again, and give away to the rich at even a faster rate.

Keeping that up will never solve the problem. But it will create revolutions all over the world - with very unpredictable results.

On C4, the US is sending in troops to help find the 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Obviously understandable? No.

The US has killed at least hundreds of thousands of schoolgirls in its recent wars. Back in the US well over a million schoolgirls live in conditions of poverty, neglected schools, hopeless futures. physical danger. And it cuts services to them. So why the interest in Nigerian school girls?

Because Nigeria is rich in resources that the US and other western powers haven't finished looting yet.

On, and there are millions of schoolgirls in Congo suffering just as badly as those in Nigeria. Why not send troops there to help them?  We don't because the west already has a stranglehold on Congo.

On the editorial page, Norbert says NB leaders lack credibility on finances.  Yes, So does Norbert.

Alec Bruce has an interesting columm "To reduce poverty, improve education". He's quite right. That's why it is commonly recognized that Scotland's greatest contribution to the world was the free public school, with education made available to all.

Now, we have two more improvements to make. One is to give working class students the same chance in school as the middle class and the rich. The other is to extend the idea of free, public education to the universities.

No, I don't mean let anybody at all in. The universities need to maintain standards. But the poor need access to the universities. Just the existence of such access would provide them with an incentive they have never had.

It would take some re-education of the universities to improve their concepts of teaching and of what university is about. But that would be a solid way to reduce poverty.

Rod Allen tries desperately to break out of his mold, and say something intelligent and useful. A for effort. He's talking about world food supply. Alas, he understands nothing whatever about it. His predicted rise of population from 10 billion to 15 billion would mean a food supply disaster. He also think free market capitalism would look after the crisis- which is utterly absurd.

He also mentions Brian Mulroney's "brilliant" idea of free trade. There are plenty competent people who would say it wasn't brilliant. Anyway, it wasn't his idea. Before the election, he wrote and election book called "Where I Stand" (It's a small book.) In it, he doesn't mention free trade.

As well, I was covering that Mulroney election for radio and TV - and he never mentioned free trade. Mulroney was never more than a gofer. It was after the election that his big money backers told him to get a free trade deal. It was their idea.

As for reference to National Geographic to prove the world is getting more prosperous, he'll have to get past the magazine rack to get some idea of the world's condition.

Beth Lyons drops a well-defined bomb on a fellow columnist - though I wonder about her belief our goal should be    gender equality in politics.

As the cards are stacked now, women who enter politics are entering a man's world that works under men's rules. Obviously, we need something better than that. Equality does not and should not mean simply entering a man's world. I'm not sure where to go with that - but I would not want to see simply more Margaret Thatchers in politics.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 21: Shame, shame, shame....

The first page of today's TandT features a story from a research group. "N.B. health waits a "shame": report." It's about long waits for some medical services, especially in NB.

There are lots of things that are a shame. This one is a shame on the newspaper.

When big business began making an organized and serious attempt to take over government more than fifty years ago, it discovered a wonderful way to do it. It set up think tanks, groups of supposedly impartial researchers who would publish reports damaging to institutions they didn't like. And they didn't like anything publicly owned- with medicare leading their list of hates. So they have churned out report  after report about the failings of medicare, always with a  hint that private medical care would be better.

Getting publicity for their findings was no problem since most news media are owned by the same kind of people as the corporation bosses who are hostile to institutions like medicare.

Politically, most think-tanks are right wing - which is simply a jargony way of saying they would prefer government to get out of the way, and make health, education, jails,  police, etc. into privately owned companies. This has been done all over the US and Britain - commonly with disastrous results. But the think tanks don't do studies on that part of it.

There are, it's true, a few left-wing think tanks. But they don't have the money of the right-wing ones. In any case, I have never seen the report of any left-wing think tank in our news media. It must happen sometimes; but if so, it's rare.

Much of our news comes straight from billionaire supported tanks like Fraser Institute. C.D.Howe, and Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. In other words, much of our news is pure propaganda. And I note the 'news' reports from these outfits almost never contain any criticism of their pronouncements.

In this case, the news story does say it's right wing - but that comes nowhere close to telling readers what it's really all about. And right-wing think-tank reports are always treated at least as seriously as reports by real and impartial researchers.

I have no idea of whether this report tells the whole truth. And if it's complaints are true, I have no idea whose fault it may be that hospital wait times in New Brunswick are long. And, in fact, the report does not examine that.  No matter.  The think tank has its recommendation ready. And there was never any doubt what they would be.

Privatize part of the health system.

If we do that, the story goes, those who can afford it will get private health care, thus freeing up medical staff to deal more quickly with the rest. Too bad that's not true.

If you subtract doctors and some facilities from medicare to serve the rich. then the rest of us will be even shorter of doctors and facilities. It will not make waits shorter. It will make them longer (except, of course, for the kinds of people who subsidize these think tanks.

Incidentally, it is my impression that some years ago, big business stuck it's big, red nose into the health system to redesign it to it would work on a business model. Well, gee! If it's working on a business model with advisors from business, how can there possibly be any problems?

Wow! Wow! Wow! On C2 there's a story -  with a picture - of a new restaurant combining Pizza Delight and Scores.

On A4, a church is looking for donations for a garage sale. Here's a paper that's out there digging to get the real news that YOU need to know. (I don't believe I've ever seen such am item in print as if it were a news story.)

Newstoday is largely pictures of the royal Him and Her.

The lead story is - hold your breath - a report advising the province to  save money by closing schools and hospitals. This comes from another big business "think-tank", though the paper doesn't bother to tell us that. This time it's our own Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. And it's just packed with names of people who have devoted their lives to helping us common people, names like Irving and McCain.

So there it is - pure propaganda disguised as news.

In any case, cutting such budgets to soften a recession doesn't work. It never has. This is exactly what happened in the dirty thirties - billionaires making record profits, and telling us we had to cut their taxes, raise ours, and cut spending. But that didn't end or even ease the depression. It took war to do that. And it took big government. And it took forcing business to bloody well do what our elected government told it to do.

Norbert has an interesting column, though it rather falls on it's face with the closing remark called The Last Word. It blames the current government spending for domestic espionage and invasion of privacy  on young people who don't value their privacy. ??????? Really? So that's why governments all over the world are setting up monstrous spy systems and record files?

Please, Norbert. There should be some connection between The Last Word and your column.

Alec Bruce has a change-of-pace column on the decline of marriage as an institution. It could use a follow-up on the meaning of that decline.

Brian Cormier has his usual and irrelevant bedtime story. In signing off, he defines himself as a communications specialist. I'd like to see him write about exactly what that means. It surely can't mean writing irrelevant little stories every week.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 20: Banner headline, page 1.....

"First-ever Rotary Ribfest promises finger-licking fun."

This is a day of ribs, chicken, soft drinks, beer and bands to raise money for Moncton Headstart, Moncton Youth Residencess  and other youth groups. All credit to those in and out of Rotary who contribute their time and work for this In no way do I criticize them. But there is surely something wrong with the government of a society that leaves such essential programmes to be provided by voluntary organizations.

A5 has a story on a similar theme, "NB social housing crisis is looming,..."  The federal government and others are cutting off funding to provide decent housing for those who can't afford it - and the supply of such housing is dwindling.

This is an example of governments whose idea of government is to balance the budget - and pay for expensive trips for the prime minister to Israel and Ukraine just before election time. A government is NOT a business. It does NOT exist to make a profit. A government's function is to determine the needs of its people and to meet them.

Obviously, you need money to meet those needs. But you do that first by determining what the needs are, then by cutting out spending on projects like sending the PM and 300 friends to Israel, and giving handouts and tax beaks to corporations.

A6 has a whole page of pictures of The Rocks for any Monctonian who has never seen them. And A8 and A9 has two, whole pages of pictures - you know - him and her. She looking as if she just adores children. And he looking as if he's wondering where the washroom might be.
The lead story, "Premiers to look at '60s Scoop adoptions". This is a story that is overdue. Back in the 1960s, some 20,000 native children were taken by welfare workers and put up for adoption. It was as bad as the residential schooling had been, with children removed from friends and family and, often, placed in brutal settings. I knew one who was placed with a very wealthy and caring family. It was still an ordeal from which he will never recover.

The provincial premiers are meeting to discuss apologies, counselling and, perhaps compensation. And that's all as it should be. But the essential step will still be missing. Let native peoples have control of their own lives. Let them make their own decisions. Let them have territory that is really their own. Let them decide, for example, whether to allow fracking on their land.

Because of military power we now live in an enormous land that was theirs.When we took it, we simply made them our prisoners in the concentration camps we call reserves. That calls for more than an apology or counselling or even compensation. We have to let native peoples really be their own masters.

Now- look at the story next to it. It's from The Associated Press, and it's "Putin orders troops to return to bases." Well, that seems like good news. And it makes sense. Putin is the one who has been working to avoid crisis from the start. Unlike western leaders, he hasn't threatened, and he has many times attempted to find a settlement.

His one, aggressive move was to take control of the Crimea. But that was an eminently sensible reaction to what looked very much like a western coup of the government of Ukraine - and he had a major naval base in Crimea under a long term lease.

As well, there is no reason whatever why Putin should want the failed state that is Ukraine. There is nothing to be gained from it, especially when what looks at the odds in a Russia/West war with the massive western lead in military equipment, and it's superior numbers - not to mention the risk of global nuclear war.

I know Putin's a Russian and he's evil because all Russians used to be communists and they were all evil - unlike us. The idea of pulling back troops to ease tensions  makes sense for Russia. And, indeed, I can imagine no other reason for it. Now, read the first sentence of the report.

In what "could" be an attempt to ease tensions......

Could? Why express doubt? If Obama or Kerry had made such a statement, the word 'could' would never have appeared. Read on....

"This seemingly conciliatory approach suggested that Putin may believe he has achieved his key goal  of maintaining Russian influence over Eastern Ukraine without having to send in Russia troops."

Ah, his approach is only "seemingly" conciliatory.  It's all really a fake.

And his "key" objective was to maintain Russian influence over Eastern Ukraine?  Oh? And where did that information come from? And how does he maintain Russian influence by pulling his troops back? So far, in fact, he has discouraged the pro-Russian factions. That's an odd way to maintain influence.

This isn't reporting, This is opinion. And it's not really opinion. It's propaganda. And that goes on throughout the article. When Russia holds air exercises over its own territory, it's provocative and dangerous. When the US sends warships to patrol off a Russian port, though, there's no comment.

Further down, Putin did develop some peace plans - but this was "only under western pressure."'

That's the kind of propaganda called news that is almost uniform across North America. The news media have bought into it all the way.

Yes, I think somebody does want a war. But his name isn't Putin. I'm not even sure it's Obama. He has certainly made himself scarce through all this. But all the signs are that people of great influence in the US  have decided this is the time to take a giant step to world dominance.

C4 has a similar sort of story - but worse. "Syrian death toll exceeds 160,000, say activists.

What the hell is 'activists' supposed to mean? Who are they? And who are the inactivists? Well, in this case, 'activists' means a small group of rebels backed by American and Saudi money and weapons ( and other help), along with mercenaries  (which our news media refer to as Moslem terrorists when they're fighting us).

In particular, this death toll information comes from an organization called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It reflects the bias of a Syrian haberdasher in Britain who favours the rebel side. They set the death toll in the war at 162,000.

The UN gave up keeping count because it just doesn't have the expertise and staff to conduct such a count. But a highly prejudiced British haberdasher does; so we can trust him. And this is the kind of source our news media quote as an authority, without even bothering to tell us what it really is.

The reality is nobody has a clue how many have been killed. Figures on war dead are almost always wrong, and often (deliberately) under-estimated. In Syria, people die of hunger and of sickness untreatable because of war conditions. But they don't get counted as war dead.

And who bothers to count the orphans, the crippled, the impoverished.......

The reality is that this is a war made possible only by the US and Saudi Arabia, neither of which has ever been threatened by Syria. The purpose of the war is to destroy Syria as a nation, probably to break it up into tiny states.

The editorials in the TandT never lie. They're just simple-minded. In today's, they deal with the heavy  topic of the Treitz House, now a tourism office by the river. But the office is moving out. The editors think something should be done to preserve it. (It was built in the eighteenth century.) And they know just what to do.

Form a Public/Private/Partnership, and make it into a coffee house.  Or something.

Yeah. I can see all now - like a vision. Just hand it over to business, and it's problem solved.

Norbert does a good job on a book which is essentially racist. That's not a subject to be taken lightly, something from our dark past that can now be forgotten. The world is as racist as it has ever been, with much of that racism taught to us by our news media who have spent a century and more teaching us who to hate.

Alec Bruce tries something quite different, a sort of parable. But it has more than a few holes in it.

It's about a New Brunswick of the near future, broke and into receivership.

Curiously, Bruce creates the NDP as the party in power at the time of bankruptcy. ..mmmmmmm....Mr. Bruce, the NDP has never been in power in New Brunswick. Not ever. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, was the party that ran us into debt the NDP. It (yes, really just one) was called Liberal or Conservative.

Nor is there any mention of big business in this province which, with neglect of taxes, with business freebies and assorted favours has been driving us into severe debt - without, so far as I know, any help from the NDP.

So why pick the NDP as the party that will drive us broke? In fact, the man  who declared himself to be in coalition with the government, who freely gave advice on the budget and who, in fact, appointed the government's current budget advisors is a Mr. Irving.

Wouldn't it make more sense to blame him?

Alan Cochrane has a pretty lightweight piece on recycling. Perhaps he's dumbing down in hopes of becoming the editorial writer.

Paricia Graham, the ombudsman for Irving press, has a remarkably useless column on op ed. And her tone is that of someone who sees editors as providing the answers. That's not a good start for an ombudsman.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19: Missed the A2 cartoon a couple of days ago? Worry not.

You'll find it today, repeated in the usual spot on A2,  TheTandT undoubtedly has the sloppiest editing I have ever seen in a newspaper.

 I was  driving past Moncton City Hall recently, and I saw a large demonstration of women to rescue the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria. And I most certainly support that cause. But.....

Why have never seen such demonstrations for the hundreds of thousands of school girls in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan - among others, raped, bombed, shot, orphaned. burned alive by our side? Where are the campaigns to help Iraq's uncounted orphan and crippled children to survive?

Or do we think it a privilege to be raped, bombed, shot, orphaned, by our side.?

Some of it was pretty close to home, too. 300,000 were killed in Guatemala because our mining investors found them terribly unwilling to allow their land to be poisoned.  300,000 from babies to great grandparents were 'eliminated'.  (There were few schoolgirls involved because the mining companies saw no point in wasting money on education.)

The Syrian genocide goes on. It kills schoolgirls, too. And it's being paid for and supplied with weapons by Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and the United States. And they intend to keep paying and supplying until Syria no longer exists. But it hardly ever make the Irving papers.

Watch for more to come in Libya, another country hopelessly destablized by the US. A new govenment is being put in place. It is led by a general who lived in he US for twenty years as a CIA informant. Coincidence.

It's no just them evil Ayrabs who brutalize those girls. It's our very open, hand-clapping, jump for Jesus Christians. It might be nice to see a sermonette about that on the Faith Page some day.

A 1 features a picture we shall see more of in he next few days - of Camilla bending over to accept flowers from little girls, and of Charles looking as if he gives a damn.

Lower down is an interesting story about the Nature Conservancy Council in New Brunswick.

A5 has a story about an "entrepreneur" as an inspiration to us all. It never did have the story about the lay missionary from New Brunswick who was murdered by our good friends for trying to help people. But, then, he wasn't an enterpreneur. So he wouldn't be so inspirational.

Then there are more pictures of Charles and Camilla.
In NewsToday, thanks to Harper's vote-catching scheme to put more people in jail for longer The costs of prison are soaring - and some are badly overcrowded. But it's worth it so we can keep first rate people in government, people like Harper himself, and or own "dynamite" Goguen.

The US righteously condemned the idea Putin interfering in the affairs of another country (Ukraine). citing the UN Charter's  definition of such activity as illegal. So far, there is no evidence that Putin did interfere - funny the US left out that detail, though it has world class experience in interfering with other countries.

Now, there's been a coup in the mess that was Libya. The  coup was led by a former Libyan general who lived in the US for twenty years as a CIA informant. Coincidence. (C8)

Apparently, nothing happened yesterday in Ukraine or Syria.

Nor is there any hint that US 'defence' spending is now over 40% of the world total - and nobody else is even close.  Toss in the US allies of Japan, Britain and France, and it's way, way over 50% of the whole world.

Gee, if I were Obama, I'd be looking for war with Russia and China soon. Military equipment can wear out very, very quickly - and rebuilding so much of it could break any budget.

Norbert has an interesting column on racism What he doesn't not mention is that the news media play a major role in it.

We live in a highly racist age, and one that is encouraged by our governments. News media have taught me to hate, in the racial sense, since I was old enough to listen to radio. I've been taught to hate Germans, Italians, Japanese, Chinese, Moslems, Russians (and you could see this being revived in making Putin evil because he was a Russian.)

Notice Canada has made no move to assist the millions of vicitms of the Syrian war? Nor did we lift a finger to help the  orphans of Iraq. But the US has the relatively small attack on New York - and we but sounevirs, bend all over to exend help, and pray in church for the vicitms Heard many prayers for he Syrians?

Get your notepads ready, you might have to learn to hate Chinese (again) and Iranians very soon.

Intriguing article by Alec Bruce - perhaps a reminder that the world does not turn round due to the efforts of entrepreneurs alone.

Craig Babstock gives us a column that is not really an opinion column. As usual, he offers an insight into the operation of the legal system. It's not a news story. It's not an opinion. It might be better off in some place like Life and Times.

We need lots more informed opinion than we're getting. And that's why opinion columns are for.

Steve Malloy contributes a charming and badly needed story about compassion.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 17:How utterly stupid we are!

It's pretty sobering to look at the tremendous problems we have created for the near future - problems of food supply, climate, wildly overstrained resources. problems of immense overpopulation, problems that no nation, no person, can escape by being rich or powerful.

These are problems so great it will take all of us, all cooperating, to have even a hope of softening the blow.

And we're not doing a damn thing except fighting each other.

I was reading the last few days of the Christian Science Monitor, once a quite respectable newspaper by North American standards. What I read was appallingly bad journalism, all propaganda and lies to keep readers in ignorance and to encourage hatred. (Why on earth to they call that paper Christian?)

All the stories on Ukraine refer to Russia as evil and plotting to upset the "world order" - whatever the' world order' means. The US, apparently, was not upsetting the world order when it killed millions in Vietnam, over a million and a  half in Iraq, a number they haven't bothered to tell us about in Afghanistan, and the complete destruction of Syria.

A headline said Russia has "an evident desire" to take over Ukraine. So far, I've seen no great desire to take over Ukraine, and no evidence of any. To say "evident desire" in this case is not news. News is what actually happened. "Evident desire"  in this case is simply an opinion. You don't mix opinion with news (well, not unless you're an Irving paper - oh, they almost all do it now...)

It also says that the leader of the Orthodox Church in Russia is the "only one'  opposing Putin's attempt to "squelch" peace efforts.

For a start, I would doubt whether one cleric is the only person in Russia who advocates peace. Second, Putin has been the leader in suggesting peaceful efforts. Certainly, no such effort has come from our side. And the only one from the Ukraine government excludes the other side from taking part. Some peace effort!

This is the selling of pure hatred and killing fury. Onward Christian soldiers.

The son of US Vice-President Joe Biden has accepted the offer of a very high-paying executive position from Ukraine's largest oil producer. So has Secretary of State Kerry's chief fund-raiser. Coincidence.

Nobody has mentioned that fact that there is something bloody unethical about Biden's family and Kerry's pal getting and accepting such an offer that suggests a massive conflict of interest.

Mind you, it's a tradition in US politics. The Bush family has made its various fortunes out of government connections for at least three generations. The younger George Bush has become an extremely wealthy man, so wealthy, he must have saved his political salaries, and made his own clothes.

First, he completed an MBA at a prestigious school despite his appalling ignorance of basics - like speaking English. For his very first job, he was made CEO of an oil exploration company. (Daddy was president of the US at the time.) He ran the company broke in a short time - but managed to sell off his stocks first in a move that looked illegal but was later ok'd by an inspector chosen by his daddy. Then he became head honcho of a company building a pro sports stadium, and needed government money - lots of it. So George's real job was just to be the son of the president.

Then he became governor of Texas and later, President of the US. I don't know who actually ran Texas in Governor Bush's time. But certainly a dolt like him never ran the US. That was done by an oil executive who was his VP, Dick Cheney.

So now, Vice-President Biden and secretary of state Kerry have personal interests in a war with Russia.

Meanwhile, here in Canada, our government has cut our spy agencies more slack to act illegally in gathering information about - whatever they feel like gathering  information about.

And now we turn to the wisdom to be learned from the pages of the Irving press.

A1 has a picture of a car accident. If you miss it, no problem. You can also find it on A2.

A9 has a full page "FACT vs. FICTION" on how Mr. Irving did wonderful things for the province he loves in his recent forestry deal with Alward. And we know we can trust it because the whole thing is written and illustrated by J.D.Irving Limited.

Ad the bottom of the page is a picture of Mr. Irving suitable from framing  (if you have one hell of a small frame.)

And those are the highlights of A1.

D1 tells us that the American economy is recovering; and  that will pick up the Canadian economy.


Most economic figures, such as those on employment, are so highly misleading as to be fictional. And the jobs that are coming onto stream are often (usually) the lowest paid ones.

Much of the "recovery" is happening in the pockets of the very, very rich. As in the Great Depression of the 1930s, profits are doing just great - thus the 'rise in the economy'.  But most of us aren't getting any of that rise.

As for the European recovery, tell the Irish and the Greeks and the Spanish all about it. Tell the British working class and middle class. They'll be delighted that the pain in their stomachs has nothing to do with being hungry.

Most notably. not a thing has been done about the wage gap. Nor is anybody even talking about it.

In a related article. Alward has announced a five-year plan to cut poverty. (Well, it's an election year.) Progress, we are told, has already been made as the minimum wage has now risen to $10 an hour. Wow! That should really take a slice out of the wage gap. A family could live pretty high on $10 an hour.

The reality is you cannot reduce poverty under out system of a loosely regulated perversion of capitalism combined with business control of the government. The reason we  have a recession is because this greedy and corrupt system created it. More of the same is not going to solve anything. We need serious changes in both economics and politics.

But economic leaders are too greedy and stupid to see that. And the old parties have become too accustomed to being cheerleaders and slipper fetchers for the very rich.

D3 says that "Academics call for halt to forestry plan". 95 academics across New Brunswick want the government's forestry plan rewritten. Silly professors. They obviously haven't yet read Mr. Irving's brilliant statement on the subject in section A of today's paper.

In a related story on the business page, J.D.Irving opens a tree nursery in Sussex. And there's a picture of Mr. Irving talking with Alward who is listening very seriously, just as if he understands it all. We are also assured that Alward "applauded the Irvings....saying "people are going to be able to work in a great industry. earn a great living...." Obviously, Mr.Alward is shaky on the meaning of the word 'great'. I mean, if you are going to say a salary paid to a timber worker is 'great', what word do you have left to describe the salary paid to Mr. Irving?

D4 has a story about the very great problems faced by native women in Canada. Immediate help is suggested in the form of, for example, women's shelters. But it runs much deeper than that. And it's a problem that we non-natives caused.

You cannot smother, crush, or even change a whole society's way of living - its economics, it's religion, it's social values without causing enormous and long lasting damage. African-Americans have not recovered and adapted from the trauma they suffered centuries ago. Neither have native peoples.

We have to learn they need and deserve all the help we can give. We also have to learn that they need the freedom to make decisions for themselves. We cannot make them into us. We have no right to force them to be us.

On the editorial page, Bill Belliveau talks of the economic changes we need to make for the near future, particularly in relation to the provincial debt. The problem is he thinks we can do it within our present political and economic framework. We can't. It's the present political and economic framework that caused the problem. Belliveau has a lot more thinking to do. But before he even begins it, he has to learn to forget that he's a Liberal.

Interesting column by Norbert on how we tend to think we're smarter than we are. Painful, but true. And, in my experience, particularly true of businessmen (sorry. Entrepreneurs). Notice the frequency with which businessmen form committees to tell us and our governments what to do. I don't believe that any other group does it with so much consistency - and so much ignorance. It also interferes in the running of institutions - like schools and hospitals - institutions of which it is quite ignorant. Yes, there are indeed people who think they are smarter than everybody else.

Today, Gwynne Dyer shows important insights into how and why countries use violence. The example is China which has recently been quite aggressive in its actions and claims in Asia. The reason?

Dyer says it's because China is facing an economic slowdown, something which could be politically dangerous for the government. But foreign conflicts can be used to divert people from their real problems. External conflicts generate fears and hatreds that are directed at them there foreigners, and divert them from the real problems caused by their own government.

It's been known to happen on our side, too, because that's a lot of what foreign affairs is really about.

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16: Worse than usual....

There are two items worth reading in section A. The first is on the front page"Harper unveils national conservation strategy".

At first, that comes as quite a shock. This, after all, is the man who has shown nothing but contempt for environmental protection in this country. This is also the man who has done nothing but pitch for votes for re-election for months. That's what the grand and extravagant trip to Israel was all about. That's what the trip to Ukraine was all about - and his sword-waving speeches on Ukraine.

He has destroyed must of our existing environmental legislation to welcome resource companies with open arms.....Come to Canada. Destroy or forests. Destroy our freshwater and our salt water. Pollute anything you like.

So why this conversion on the road to Damascus? There is no conversion. This, like his speech to the knesset in Israel, is grand but empty talk. In any case, he knows well that any real legislation would send resource companies (like Canadian mining companies) scampering for third world countries where they can loot and destroy and pollute and murder at will. In fact, recent treaties  (being signed by Harper among others) give the resource companies the right to sue countries like Canada for billions if they find environmental legislation in the way.

So, to mining companies, don't worry about this silly talk of environmental protection. Welcome to Canada, the Guatemala of the north.

On A5, there's a more realistic story "Via trends 'all bad' in report: advisor."

Like the story above, this one is about a promise to save Via Rial in the maritimes made by Harper to get elected. Nothing much is going to happen to rail service under Harper. This is another election year promise.

Harper is not going to make a government railway work. Harper hates any government owned business. Worse, he doesn't have a clue have to develop one. He will treat the new Via as though it were a private railway to be run and planned by private railway methods. It won't work. And that will be he excuse for closing it.

Via Rail could be a major factor in Harper's "national conservation strategy". But it won't be because he doesn't have a conservation strategy, anyway -and there is little, indeed, in his record to suggest he wants one.

In the banner headline of C1, it says Harper will not use federal budget surpluses to help provinces that are short of money - and whose offerings of services will have to be cut. Instead, it will use the money to cut taxes.

Very businesslike. Very Harper. Very New Brunswick. To these people, government is only about money, about balancing budgets. Like business, it's not about people at all. It's simply about business - profit and loss.

When Harper polishes his halo for balancing the budget, it never occurs to him (or to Alward) that government is not just about saving money. It's also about people. And it's people (not something abstract like provinces, but real people) who will suffer if he refuses to help provinces to meet those needs.

He also has more power to address contributing problems like the wage gap.

But Harper won't do any of that. His image of government is that it's just like a board of governors of a corporation. It's not. We elect governments to represent us. We are people. We are the ones who suffer as Harper uses his surpluses to happily cut taxes (for those who have enough money to pay taxes.)

The terrible mining accident in Turkey (C1) may be an important event to follow. Turkey seems to be becoming increasingly unstable - in a very unstable part of the world.

C11 has a pretty honest account of recent news from Ukraine. As you read it, particularly the second half of the story, it becomes obvious that Putin is the only national leader involved who has consistently looked for peaceful solutions. (The only, outsider  nation that had advanced peaceful solutions is Switzerland. Putin has welcomed it. Kyiv and the US and it's NATO allies have shown no interest.

The evidence is pretty strong. Russia is not looking for a war. But some very influential people in the US are.
Hats off to Norbert for a first-rate column on language in New Brunswick.

It never ceases to amaze me how courteous and friendly (most) New Brunswickers are. I suspect that is due in no small part to the language accommodations that have been made here. For those who find these accommodations grating, I can only suggest you try living for a few years in a place of language war - as Quebec was for most of my life there. I can well remember sharing a speaker's table with a premier of Quebec who spent the time pouring out his hatred of me. (We had never met before.)

He assumed that because I was anglo, I was rich. So he talked of how hard it was to be French in a province where all the French were poor, and the English rich. In fact, I had grown up a lot poorer than him. (He had gone to private school - something out of the question for me.) In fact, he came from a monied family - and was too ignorant to know that historically in Quebec, the English were poorer than the French.

Enjoy French and English. Yes, the situation could be better. But not much.

And good on Norbert.

Alec Bruce is excellent on Via rail, in the maritimes. The reality is that we desprately need to switch to other methods of transport. Anyone who seriously thinks we have a choice  is just whistling in the dark. It's going to be tough to make all the changes we have to make. And we're terribly hampered by the greed and short-sightedness of people in business, notably the automotive business.

Gwynne Dyer goes  way out of his usual field to deal with this. He talks about extreme changes that are coming down on us.  And they will come. And soon. And what we think about it won't matter.

But I don't know of any government in this country that is making any plans to deal with it. Business doesn't plan for it because business isn't interested in planning for anything that isn't already happening. The city council is planning an events centre for a world that will cease to exist before we can pay any significant part of its debt.

The provincial government has no plans for anything, so far as I can tell, oh, except to sell us on a fuel that is part of the problem.

And Harper? He, too, is part of the problem.

But read Gwynne Dyer. Read, especially,  his last sentence.