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.

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