Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May7: The story of the day....

Brent Mazerolle must have been in a state of high excitement as he got his big assignment of the day - for a front page story. Should he wear his hat with the big PRESS card stuck on to it?

No, too showy. He settled for the corduroy suit that would stand up to the strain of chasing down a big story. It was a good choice. Dogged, enterprising, chasing down leads, he chased down the scoop of the year. And it appears right there on page 1 where a big story belongs.

"Is it time to change how we handle spring cleaning?"

All the big questions are there. Should we just put unwanted items at the curb? or should we donate them? There's even a picture of a woman who collects items left at the curb. Why have other news media not told us about this?

This is the sort of news story that makes you stop and think.  (And then just keep on going.)
The only news of any importance is on A4 "YMCA Reconnect aims to help Moncton's needy". This is a story about how hardship is on the rise, and what it's like to have only volunteer help to rely on. And it made me think.

Next time Mr. Irving asks the government for a grant for for half a forest,  why don't we send him from door to door asking for contributions of money, and asking country people for a few trees each?
NewsToday opens with a bizarre story. "Tories to ban crossing legislature floor". Occasionally, an elected member will leave his party and join an opposition party - perhaps on principle, perhaps for personal gain. That's because, officially, we don't elect parties, we elect people. No doubt it annoys some.. But it can hardly be classed as a threat to democratic government. Are there no greater problems facing the government?

C4 has :"N.B. parties differ over shale gas report," N.B. parties means, of course, just the Liberals and the Conservatives. And since both parties are really quite close on the issue, it wasn't much of a debate. Energy Minister Craig Leonard was obtuse, childish and - how can I put it? - a speaker of untruth. Gallant was waffly. Both simply confused the issue.

The only intelligent, honest, and expert statement came out of the office of the Chief Medical Officer. And I have to give the Irving press credit for giving good coverage to the statement from that office.

The only foreign news in the section is on C12. It's about Ukraine, and it's the usual report that tells us nothing. And it's sloppy. The sub-headline tells us that 30 pro-Russian insurgents were killed in street fighting. Half-way through, we are told that the number killed was ten, and  that many of those were not insurgents but ordinary civilians - and it admits there is not way to confirm any of those figures.

And, as always, it begins the story in the middle, as though all this suddenly happened when Russia took control of Crimea. In fact, it started when Ukrainian mobs - obviously with big money and training from somebody -  staged a coup against the elected government, and set up their own government. And that new and illegal government is the one that is on our side.

Now, NATO is talking about the need to set up bases in Poland? That seems odd when you consider that this did not start with Russia interfering in the rest of Europe. It started with the US interfering in Ukraine. It was certainly not Russia that overthrew the elected Ukrainian government, thus threatening Russia.
Norbert has now written the same column for three days in row. And its still bar-room economics.

The wealthy in New Brunswick (and Canada and the US) are getting wealthier while everybody else is getting poorer.  Laying off public servants will not change that. That kind of economic development does not produce prosperity for anybody but the very rich. Use your eyes Norbert. Look at Congo. Look at Central America. Look at Europe. Look at the US. Wherever the rich are allowed to run free, they create wealth for themselves, and poverty for everybody else.

Please forget this crap about the rich creating jobs and general prosperity. It's not true. And it never has been.

Perhaps your country village newspaper will start acting like a real, grown-up one, and publish some stories about what is happening in the US - about the record numbers reduced to poverty, about 20% of American children suffering malnutrition, about record rates of homelessness- while the super-rich are making their biggest profits in history, and have been for years.

His concluding quotation is, "You cannot spend your way out of recession...." Norbert, what the hell do you think got us out of the depression of the 30s? Try this quotation. "You cannot starve yourself out of poverty."

Alec Bruce writes on the shale gas report. And, I regret to say, he's playing the game by the official rules.

Brian Cormier offers us another sermonette. He says spreading rumours is dishonourable. "Fact", he says, "becomes fiction. Fiction becomes fact."He puts much of the blame on social media.

Has he never read the Irving press?

There's an interesting story in Eric Lewis' column. It's about a naval base that used to be in Riverview in World War 2. It was a control centre for our ships in the North Atlantic. Now, that war in Europe was a closer run thing than most people realize. If we had lost control of the North Atlantic, and we almost did at one point, we would have lost the war.

The story of how our tiny and neglected navy grew up in a hurry to get that control is one of the turning points of history. Veterans want a monument to HMCS Coverdale and it's crucial role. I would go further than that.

This deserves to be a museum to one of our finest moments, The Battle of the Atlantic.


  1. Only a couple of mistakes today:) "Officially" we don't elect individuals, we elect parties, not, as you say, vice versa. Its true that a person may VOTE for an individual, however, that person has no real power outside of the party. We vote for individuals at the municipal level. On the rare occasion that an independant wins a seat then obviously that is true, but that is extremely rare.
    Its simply idiotic in New Brunswick, since like you say, on so many policies the parties are exactly the same, there is really no need for it. Most new legislation comes about because of apparant problems, but when is the last time this has happened in New Brunswick? And who cares when it does. So this is just idiocy trying to masquerade itself as a politician 'doin some legislating'. I can think about about 40 pieces of legislation that are needed in NB before going around fabricating problems.

    In Ukraine, we don't actually know what the US and the west did to influence people, and likewise we don't know what Russia was doing. While you point the finger at the US, you have to at least admit that Russia COULD have been doing the same before it all hit the fan.

    As for the North Atlantic, Canada wasn't in much real danger and by that time we were an independant country. So WE would not have lost the war, but no doubt Great Britain would have. Even stating 'the allies' isn't a sure thing, since 'we' also lost France, but it didn't mean the end of the war. So 'we' could have lost Great Britain for a while, but that doesn't mean the end of the war.

  2. If it were true that legally our votes were for a party, then it wouldn't be necessary to pass a law disciplining a person who changed parties. If it was the party and not him that was elected in the first place, then changing parties would instantly put him out of a job.

    As to what Russia COULD have been doing, neither of us has any idea. However, we can be quite sure it was not Russia that organized the overthrow of a government that was moving close to Russia.

    The big winner of the coup was the International Monetary Fund that just happened to have a friendly banker on the spot who just happened to become president after the coup. And if the IMF is good friends with anybody, it's the US. And it was the US that instantly recognized the new and illegal government.

    There is lots of evidence the US did it. There is none whatever that Russia did it. Even these stories that the east must be getting supplied by Russia because its protestors have some grenade launchers and heavy weapons is bunkum. Thousands of Ukrainian troops joined the pro-Russian protesters. And they brought their weapons.
    I never said Canada was in danger in World War Two.
    As for suggesting that Britain had lost, I am not the one who decided that. Winston Churchill said it, and wrote about it. He even considered giving Hitler a bit of the British Empire to end the war.
    We would have lost Great Britain for a while? More than that. Without Great Britain their could h ave been no launching pad for D Day. The loss of Britain would have been the end of the war. As it was, D day was possible only because the majority of the German troops had to be fighting the Soviet Union.
    The loss of Britain would have been the loss of the war. And as partners in the war, we would have been losers. You don't have to be conquered to be a loser. The US
    lost in Vietnam - but it was never invaded by Vietnam.

    To return to the vote, many people think they're voting for a party. But we are voting for people chosen from among out peers (equals). A party is not our equal, not even if you really like it. Our equals are other people.

    So you have only three mistakes today.

  3. I said 'officially', not 'legally'. There is nothing legal about it, however, the fact is that we have parties, not independants. Your statement means that IF I voted for the Conservative Party, and my member switched teams, he'd have to resign. There is no such regulation. There SHOULD be regulation, and there is often talk of forcing a byelection, but you'll notice that died fast, because voters have virtually no power in Canada.

    If what you said were true, then it would be no big deal if somebody crossed the floor, and the public should be outraged that the government is attempting to put restrictions on somebody elected exercising their personal liberty. Instead, most people agree that its quite aggregious to have a liberal member suddenly decide halfway through that they really want to be a conservative-but since in NB the two parties are identical and nobody has done it any time lately, people think its just an idiotic move.

    Go ask your riding rep to vote against his party and he'll either apologize sheepishly, or else may actually do that, but the party simply throws him out, as they did with that Parrott guy. In fact, I can't remember about the tories, but the leader of the liberal party is free to select whoever they want in various ridings, and can throw them out anytime they want.

    Like a corporation, a party is in fact MORE than our equal, they have all kinds of special rights and privileges that individuals don't have. And I'm not sure you've noticed, but in our society 'equality' is only reserved for the most basic of cases. So I would say the opposite of you, people may vote for an individual, however, do some checking in how often members vote against their own party. If they become Cabinet ministers, they aren't even allowed to CRITICIZE their own party or else they will bring it down.

    For Russia, it very well could have, because they were only moving monetary policy closer to Russia, whereas now they have Crimea pretty much owned. So destabilization could well have been in their plans, like you say, we simply don't know. But the Ukraine has a LONG history of corruption and meddling by the soviet union, probably even moreso than the US. I haven't seen any evidence 'the US did it', I may have missed it, but the most I saw was some organization that spends money on various protests was in Ukraine. The US certainly didn't open fire on those protestors. There is some question as to who they were, but they certainly weren't american. My main point is simply that like most political acts, it is extremely complex and at such a distance hard to say ANYTHING definitively-so I don't.

    To Great Britain, you said "If we had lost control of the North Atlantic, and we almost did at one point, we would have lost the war". D day could have been launched from elsewhere, there is the south atlantic as well as the pacific. Or we could simply sit back, as you point out, it was the russians who really beat the german army, and its unlikely that after Stalingrad Germany could have held onto Great Britain for any length of time anyway.

  4. Think hard, and this time close your eyes.
    A party nominates a candidate. He is called a candidate because he, not the party, is the candidate.
    If it was not he but the party that got elected, then his leaving the party would remove him from office. And there would be no need for an election.

    Democracy is based on rights for individuals, not for parties.

    I notice you present no evidence whatever for your case. There is none.

    You have no evidence - but the press and your commonly reach conclusions. So do I. There is nothing wrong with using logic.

    Logic - for fifty years and more the US had been the world's most aggressive and expansionist country - by far.
    Logic - the US has a profound interest in Ukraine.
    Logic - the International Monetary fund, dominated by the US, has a profound interest in Ukraine.
    Logic - the (illegal) president of Ukraine is a front man for the IMF.
    How do you know it wasn't US agents who fired on protesters? You don't think american agents would do naughty things?
    I have taught military history and know many military historians. If they heard you suggest D day could have been launched from the Pacific or the South Atlantic, they would have burst into tears of laughter.

    Nor can I see what Stalingrad would have had to do with holding Britain.

  5. I always enjoy following your exchanges, Graeme, as they are quite refreshing.

    If one follows online discussions in the media, a popular view held even by many Liberal or Conservative supporters is that the current Kiev regime is an illegitimate government, installed by a neo-fascist coup, backed by western interests, including even the ministerial composition of the interim government and its extreme-right Svoboda and Right Sector components ( the Nuland taped conversations).

    Russia is evidently pursuing its own interests but has been provoked into a confrontation by aggressive Western foreign Policy.

    I don't know if you have been following, it is expected that those in our western provinces of Ukrainian ancestry would rally behind Harper's foreign policy, but we likewise have the incongruity of left-wing sovereignists in Québec Soldaire, ie their online publication "Presse-toi à gauche" serving as apologists for the interim Kiev government, defending "Ukrainian unity" and measures taken by the government in pursuit of such goal, directing their fire against Russian aggression and the "separatist" aspirations of the eastern, largely russophone populace....

    A curious stance for left wing "sovereignists" in Quebec.
    They characterize the current Ukrainian regime as "neo-liberal", a characterization they apply equally to governments in Canada, the US, France, Britain, as opposed to "neo-fascist", they deny there was a neo-fascist putsch but describe the Maidan protests as a "popular mass uprising" with reactionary ultra-nationalist character yet with a "progressive content" or core. They direct their polemical fire towards the left wing Borotba victims of the Odessa "House of Trade Unions" massacre for their alleged "pro Russian" and "separatist" sympathies as opposed to the Kiev government sanctioned Right Sector perpetrators of the Odessa massacre, they fail to draw a distinction between fascists and anti-fascists in such conflict, as apparently they are unable to distinguish between a fascist putsch and a popular uprising, between revolution and counter-revolution, between left and right wing forces.

    Talk about confusion. A fine mess we're in.

  6. 1. Here I'll agree to disagree. People can choose to vote for either a person or a party. And readers can decide which makes more sense from a governing point of view. I suspect more truth is in the middle, that we elect BOTH, and there is a constant tension between them. However, this is exactly why the tories are proposing this legislation. IF its true that we vote an individual, then people should be OUTRAGED. This is a party assault on individual freedom-if we vote for an individual and he/she wants to switch parties, thats their business.

    However, just ask yourself how you'd feel if you voted, with open eyes, for a liberal, and two days later they said "oh, I had a change of heart, I'm joining the conservative party. And what if you had voted for them and the government barely had a majority, and then your liberal vote skipped to the other side and suddenly a minority government. YOU may say you don't care, but I'm pretty sure it would be a pretty big deal for most voters.

    And again, if we voted for individuals, there would be no need for parties, just like at the municipal level. And again, 'individuals' in parties have virtually no power to do anything-if you voted for an individual, surprise!

    2. There's nothing wrong with logic, so long as you don't end up like monty python saying "if she floats in water...she weighs the same as a duck...therefore she's a witch!" Thats what logic can do.

    However, I agree with your first point, your second point I'm not sure what 'profound' means. It was reported in several places that once it 'hit the fan', the US security operations had to switch gears from the middle east and catch up with what the heck was going on. Ukraine is a basket case, and the US now uses drones that take off from all over the place and are controlled in the US, so Ukraine is hardly that big a deal. I have a sneaking suspicion that you weren't writing any more about the Ukraine a year ago than anybody else. Its important to note that it really hit the fan because the Prime Minister HAD been planning to sign an economic trade pact with Europe, and then suddenly changed his mind.

    I'm also not sure why the IMF's interest is so 'profound'. Like I said, I DON"T know it was american agents who fired on protestors. I seriously doubt it, but I certainly don't KNOW it. I certainly am not going to assume it because they've done nasty things before-so have the russians, and so had the former Ukrainian PM.

    3. You don't actually state any kind of evidence here. It obviously would not be called 'd day' and wouldn't be tactically the same. If you are a military historian then surely you know that any military operation has several options that can be chosen from. After Stalingrad Germany was fighting a defensive war, heck, D day didn't have to be fought at all, they could have sat back and waited til the Russians routed them, but the allies were in a race to beat Russia to Germany.

    So like I said, losing the north atlantic would have cut off Great Britain, but that doesn't necessarily mean the war would have been lost. Even if britain were lost there is no reason to think that Canada, Australia, Scotland, India, etc., would have just surrendered. The war would have changed, and obviously the outcome would have been more uncertain, but like I said, the sentence "if we had lost the north atlantic we would have lost the war" is factually incorrect because its based on an outcome we don't know.

  7. 1. we won't agree to disagree because you're wrong. Some people might think they're voting for a a party. but they aren't. Parties do not even exist in the constitution.
    And there have been many cases where an mp was right to cross the floor when, for example, his own party deviated from the platform it had run on.
    2. The IMF interest is profound because it wants to suck Ukraine dry before it's too late. The US wants it as a staging area for an invasion of Russia. The US is obviously doing everything it can to stir up hatred and to block a peaceful settlement. Russia gains nothing from a war, not with the US, and not with Ukraine.
    Ukraine has nothing to want except strategic position for the US. There are no resources. Ukraine is also (forget the exact figure) either 2 and a half or six and half billion for oil.

    And the group in power far from being democracy loving has a large nazi component which our press never talks about.

    On whether Britain had lost the war in 1941, I leave you to argue it with Winston Churchill. He said they had lost.

    Would India continued to fight? I doubt it very much. They hated the British, and separated from them as soon as they could. And if England fell,Scotland would go in days.

    Look. You know nothing about the military. D day was possible only because the beaches were almost within sight of Britain. The idea of invading from the Pacific or South Atlantic is absurd. It would take more shipping than the whole world possessed. And where would you land to begin (and daily supply) the invasion? Somalia?
    Ask any person who has studied the military. D day was possibly only because Britain was there as a staging area.

    And Britain's survival through 1941 was possible only because the Canadian and British navies were (barely) able to keep the sea-lanes open.

    And Rivierview was perhaps the most important single factor in enabling the British and Canadians to do that.

    BTW. I never said Canada, India, etc. would surrender. That could happen only if they got invaded - and there was never the slightest possibility that Germany could have launched an invasion across an ocean. They would simply have withdrawn from the war.
    Also by the way, there is only one country in the world capable of launching an invasion across an ocean. The US. But even it would need launching pad bases in the area. That's why it's building up its bases around China.

  8. In the act of disagreeing- by definition means you are 'agreeing to disagree'. If you DON"T agree to that, then you are agreeing with me (double negatives eh!), which is just fine, because from my view I'm a lot more 'right' than you are.

    Whether parties are in the constitution is irrelevant. There is nothing in the constitution about how elections are run or how we are governed, it is an outline of our rights. You can choose to believe you are voting for a person, not a party, thats fine, but doesn't make it true. You might want to ask at election time why your MLA has a red or blue sign. But anyway, I'm not going to change your mind, your not going to change mine, so readers can read both sides and make their choice.

    You are making the assumption that the US wants to invade Russia, which would have made far more sense twenty years ago when the country was in chaos. Even if that were true, Turkey is an ally, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, even Finland are available as locations for assault if it so desired. The media, at least the CBC, did cover the nazi angle and their experts were saying that it was largely being overblown (I'm not saying they were right, only that they said it).

    As for the World War 2 stuff, I like talking about it regardless, but again, all I said was that your sentence saying that if the north atlantic were lost then we would have lost the war is incorrect. That's it. You said 'we would have lost the war', which obviously means Canada and India WOULD have surrendered, even though, as you say, we weren't in much danger in the first place. I'm starting to suspect you simply meant that if Great Britain could not be resupplied through the north atlantic, then it would have fallen, and I'd agree.

    The rest of the stuff is gravy, but after losing France and evacuating british soldiers from France, the focus became the mediterranean and conquering Sicily and Italy and moving northwards. Obviously because GB WASN"T conquered it could be used as a staging area and it made more sense to go through the north than the south. But if that were impossible, then the south would have been an option, in fact one component of Operation Bodyguard was to make Germany think that one of the landing places was going to be in the SOUTH of France, which could easily be accomplished as most of the vichy forces had already surrendered to the allies and north africa was in the hands of the allies. There were all kinds of 'staging areas' along the southern route. Or even the western coast of France since Portugal had been allowing the british to base their ships in the Azorean islands, and it probably wouldn't have even taken much arm twisting to get Portugal or Spain to be used as drop off points-if they could even refuse. The german forces were spread out pretty thin all along the european northern and western flanks anyway.

    Anyway, I know that has nothing to do with the argument.

  9. Your knowledge of the military is very, very limited. I would have to write a book to explain why most of what you are saying is nonsense.

    Am obvious one is surrender. You do not need to surrender to get out of a war. The US got out of Vietnam But it did not surrender.

    We could have used Spain or Portugal as a launching pad? Don't you know that both were fascist? And , look at a map. Both are the North Atlantic. And without Britain the supply line would have had to be over a hundred times as long (with commensurate losses). As well, Italy was a very tough battlefield. We took some of our heaviest losses there. a narrow front is not good for a superior army. And we wouldn't have been superior anyway, because with Britain out, we would have been fighting without one third of our forces.
    Anyway, if Britain had surrendered in 1941 (as Churchill feared it would have to) the US would never have joined the European war. It would have been just us, the Australians and the New Zealanders. And good luck on that one. The Anzacs would have pulled out immediately because of the threat of Japan. So it would be Canada alone fighting a war against Germany, presumably with a supply line from BC across the pacific and up to Sicily. Good luck.

    As to voting for parties, you show me a single, legal document that says that. there is none. It is the MP that is elected. That's not even a matter of debate.

  10. Show me a single legal document that says you are voting for an individual? You may notice on the ballot that the party is right next to the individuals name. You may have missed it but Trudeau has said that all liberals must be pro choice in the future. So those 'individuals' are limited from the starting gate.

    A voting ballot is not a 'legal document'. That person is elected as member of a party, THAT is not even a matter of debate. You are arguing people's intentions-which you don't know. I will admit that a person may think of the person over the party, but the reality is that as a member of a party that person abides by far more rules determining their membership in their party than even as an elected member.

    As for the war games. Portugal and Spain were not combatants, whether they were fascist or not is irrelevant, back then Canada was even more fascist than it is today.

    Obviously troops have to get up there somehow because Germany is up there. But you are changing the conditions and now adding new restrictions. Since its a hypothetical case now, there is no asserting that the US wouldn't have joined the war or ANY other conditions which obviously we don't know.

    Suffering heavy losses has never stopped military campaigns before, there's no reason it would have now. So just because a route is 'more difficult' doesn't mean that it could not be successful. Heck, most of world war 1 was 'heavy losses', but it didn't stop the war.

    As for the North Atlantic, I will cave in a bit because it depends on descriptions. The North Atlantic in this context was to feed Great Britain, so I meant anything along that shipping route. If you consider that the north atlantic is everything to the equator, then that would be different but given that size I doubt very much that Germanys navy could adequately patrol such a vast area.

    As for references, my contention was the sentence that "if we lost the north atlantic we would have lost the war", is not proveable, and you even seem to backing down from it. If you're going to limit the case so far as to say that now Germany hold Great Britain, and nobody else but Canada is in the war, as to who would have won, thats a situation I can't even guess. I suspect if bombs starting going off in Canada that the US would probably have gotten into the war a lot quicker.