Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26: Well, let's start with the June 25 paper..... doesn't take long to read, and has almost nothing worth reading in it. Just two items really struck me.

One was a statement by Joe Biden in defence of  Harper's seeming  indifference to the fate of an Egyptian-Canadian journalist imprisoned for - well - for being a journalist and doing his job. Harper, though PM of a country of which this reporter is a citizen has shown no interest at all.

Biden's take on it is that this is a delicate issue, and that bullhorn methods won't work in dealing with it. Oh? Harper believes in quiet diplomacy?

This is the man who made enemies all over the Moslem world (and in much of the Christian world) by his highly charged (but largely useless) speeches in Israel about how he would support Israel no matter what. There were no conditions. The implication was clear. Canada would support Israel even if it was in the wrong. In practical terms, he has committed Canada to war even if Israel starts it.

Then check out his Ukraine speeches. No world leader was more bullhornish and threatening than Harper. Indeed, so far Harper is the only leader who has offered no positive advice whatever. He even out-bullhorned the nuclear war enthusiasts in the US.

But not a word to help a Canadian who faces years in jail for telling the truth. It is being done by a "just-pretend' democracy that seized power from an elected government, and has since been murdering its political opponents.

The democracy-loving west hasn't said boo. In fact, the American government is now offering Egypt's quasi-dictatorship a billion dollars for weapons. (In fairness, the US is really doing it to provide contracts for its weapons industry.)

Harper doesn't give a damn for democracy or human rights. He's made that very clear. He doesn't give a damn for the rights of Canadian citizens. It's as simple as that.

All over the world journalists are publicly protesting the Egyptian jailing of reporters who tell the truth.

Will there be a public protest by the journalists of our commercial news media in Moncton? Should you rush to get good seats while you can? Will there be an editorial? Dream on.

This is the province where journalists don't kick ass. They kiss it.

I have been disappointed by some of Gwynne Dyers' columns lately. This is hard to admit because I knew him, liked him, and had great respect for his work back in the days when we were both starting out.

But I have noticed lately an avoidance of some topics while continuing to discuss trivial ones. On June 25 in the TandT, it got worse. He said that the US was reluctant to get involved in Iraq because it can get all the oil it needs from North American sources.

Getting oil for the US was not a factor in the original, Iraq war. It was to get oil profits for American billionaires who sell it to other countries. That American 'interest' has never changed. Obama is not delaying in order to stay out of a war. He's delaying because, great democrat that he is, he wants to force the elected prime minister of Iraq to step down. Then Obama can put a puppet ruler in place.

Dyer must know that.

He must also know that when a well-equipped and well-trained army invades a country, then somebody was putting up big money and guidance and training. That somebody was almost certainly Saudi Arabia, the old friend of the US. Obama must have known what was happening, must have agreed to it, and probably had a hand in the equipping and training of the invaders.

Part of this is the general redrawing of the map of the middle east.  Most of those countries didn't exist until after World War 1. They were created largely by France and Britain to enable themselves to loot the countries with a business-like tidiness.

But after World War 2, those countries became more independent, some developing enough military power to get in the way of American control and oil profits. So now, Obama is breaking them up into smaller, weaker countries. That's what's happening in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and will happen in other countries. Israel joins into the game because destroying existing countries increases Israel's power in the area. I would not be at all surprised to see Israel start of war of destruction in Palestine. thought not to weaken it, but to drive its people out, and add their land to Israel.

But back to the US. Why use Al Quadea to break up countries? Because to break up a country you need factions and sects fighting each other - forever.

The prime minister of Iraq does not support that. In fact, he has been making friends with those awful people in Iran who are threatening the world with the nuclear bombs they don't have. So the PM has to go. That's what this is all about.

Oh, yes, watch for subtle uses of language.

When Al Queda fighters kill Americans, they're terrorists. (nasty word, that.)
When they kill Syrians, they're called rebels. Nice word. Sounds patriotic and freedom-loving.
When they kill Iraqis (often in mass executions), they're called militants, a nice, neutral word.

The June26 issue opens with a front page hymn of praise to the CEO of Vitalite health network. That leads you to A4andA5 with a QandA session between Brent Mazerolle and the CEO which opens with a chorus to the hymn of praise, followed by the thrill of seeing Brent Mazerolle gently lobbing softballs to the CEO, and showing great skill in hitting the bat every time.
And it all ends on a sweetly agreeable note.
TT Thank you for talking to us.
CEO My pleasure. (and I'll bet it was.)

Foreign news is the usual grab bag with all of its stories coming from American and Canadian news services.The result is that we are getting news that is, to say the least, one-sided. To make it worse, the bosses of those news services ensure that they remain biased. (The Irving press is one of many, similar propaganda sheets in North America.)

Editorial and Op Ed pages have a highlight in an excellent column  by Jody Dallaire on a coming (I hate her use of the word upcoming. The word coming is quite enough. We don't need the up.) women's summit. I like that, if only because it's not a yet another "entrepreneurs' summit which presumes to tell us how to run our lives and our society.

Rod Allen still doesn't know what an opinion column is.

The back page has a column by Jordi Morgan who is,  we are told,  Vice-President Atlantic of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. It shows.

This is a highly partisan, hatefilled, name-calling attack on unions.Unions are evil, evil, evil and cynical. Businessmen are good. Workers should be happy to get whatever it is, if anything, they get. This is a person who doesn't have a clue about how to write an opinion column. He clearly has no respect for workers. These are just things to be used when necessary, paid as little as possible, and then dumped. He will have his admirers among people who already think like him. But he will win no converts.

I don't think I've ever seen a column in the Irving press written by a union leader.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24: The most important news story - ever.....

.....No, it doesn't get a lot of space It has almost no information in it. And it's hidden in yesterday's (June 23) paper in a small section at the bottom of p. A2. Did the editor deliberately hide it?

I don't think so. I think the editor just didn't have a clue how important the story is. I've noticed that news, especially foreign news, seems to be chosen at random - or with a toss of the dice. There's no reason to believe that the editors have the remotest clue about which stories are more important. That might explain why the op ed columns written by staff writers are almost always trivial and even vapid.  They just don't know any better.

The story is that the US tested an anti-missile missile from a base in the Pacific. That's a missile to destroy another missile - say, a nuclear missile - coming in to attack. The attacking missile in this case was  fired by an aircraft. It was successfully intercepted and destroyed,

So why is that the most important news item you will ever see? I'll come back to that at the end of this post.

The editorial is the usual pimping for the oil industry.  I admit to being an alarmist in this issue. I'm sounding the alarm because we are destroying ourselves by encouraging the belief that we can go on forever using fossil fuels. Anyone who is not an alarmist on this issue is as big a numbskull as the oil industry is callous and uncaring.

The debate on climate change is over - over a long time a long time ago. It's happening. We are already seeing a profound effect in a decline of life on land and in the seas. Please don't babble nonsense about how we don't have a substitute for such fuels.

I know we don't. And whether we have one doesn't matter a damn because the change will go on and destroy us whether we have a substitute or not. Get used to it. There are some things we simply cannot  have no matter how much we want them or expect them. And the more we put off dealing with that, the quicker we die.
An Egyptian born man with Canadian citizenship has been sentenced to seven years in Egyptian prisons after a farcical trial, condemned  for doing his job - reporting the news. There are really two stories here.

In the famous "Arab Spring", Egypt became a democracy, and elected a government. The government was, it's true, strongly Moslem. But who Egyptians elect in a democratic society is nobody else's business.

The American government which claims to be a world leader and encourager of democracy spoke highly of the Arab Spring. But the reality is that no American government in history has ever brought democracy to anybody. Instead, it has installed dictatorships all over the world - and most especially in South America. Any country foolish enough to reject the American dictator gets disposed of.  Haiti is a good example When Haitians overthrew the dictator and elected a president, the US sent troops to send the president into exile. Then the American government set up a rigged democracy with a puppet president - something like New Brunswick.

The American government will tolerate a democracy only if it toes the line. It breaks those that  are in any way independent.  That's why, when the elected Egyptian president was overthrown by the army, and rigged elections were held to elect generals to leadership positions, there was no whisper of complaint from Obama.

So far, that military  government has sentenced over a thousand people to death, trying hundreds at a time in a trial that might last ten minutes. Almost all of them were members of the opposition. And Obama hasn't said boo.

Now they're arresting reporters for reporting what's going on.  One of them is a Canadian. And Harper, who is supposed to defend Canadians and who gives fiery speeches about Israel and the Ukraine, has said almost nothing.

Across Canada, journalists are calling Harper gutless. But that's not true. Well, it may be true. But that's not the case here. The case here is that Harper has no principles whatever.

He supports Israel because there is a high organized Jewish voting bloc that will vote for him. He supports Ukraine to get the Ukrainian-Canadian vote. There is no such bloc of voters in Canada that is either of Afghan or Egyptian descent. So it they get unfairly jailed, the're on their own.

A gutless man can be forgiven. It's a human failing. An unprincipled man is contemptible.

For wastage of space, the June 24 paper sets a new record with a whole page of an interview with the Assistant Commissioner of the New Brunxwick RCMP. It's a standard Mazerolle kiss-up interview that tells us very little.

A6 has a very interesting article by Tess Allen, reporting on demands for a far, far deeper investigation of the Lac Megantic disaster. That makes sense. The investigation that took place was pure coverup. I  have no idea had the influence to rig such a coverup. But it was certainly someone so wealthy, he doesn't need to pay income tax.

C1 has a long, long story  on the fighting in Iraq that tells us nothing. The real story is a very short one.
The American government does not like the elected prime minister of Iraq. He doesn't do what Obama and co. want him to do. So they want to get rid of him. Through its connections with Saudi Arabia, it has supported the attack on Iraq. The reason they are not intervening is because they are using the invasion to put pressure on the PM to step down.

The replacement they have in mind is a pretty slimy character named Chalibi. He is the man who originated the myth that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and so gave Bush and Blair their excuse for a war that killed a million and a half Iraqis.

That's it. Oh, the US also wants Iraq broken up as Syria is being broken up and as Lebanon will be. The idea is to encourage sectarian hatreds and fears in the rejoin. The breaking up of states will prevent any of them from becoming powerful, and will create permanent instability. The sectarian hatreds will also cause Moslems to waste their efforts in fighting each other.

All of this will, of course, mean massive poverty, hunger, suffering, refugees. But we will no doubt send  missionaries to comfort them.

Oh, yeah. The anti-missile missile story.

A news editor with any sense of what is happening in the world would not have run that story. He would have looked for something that told us more. He would have asked questions. Consider -
1.Why did the US government announce the test and its results? This is not normal for military tests.
2. Why have the test at all? The US knows the anti-missile system works. The whole world knows. That's why the US has been installing anti-missile sites all over the world and, especially, close to the borders of Russia and China.
3. It's also noticeable that the European Union is not crazy about the drive for a war with Russia.  Very, very few national leaders in the union are being quoted on the issue. The one who guessed most interviews is General Rasmussen, leader of the NATO troops. That's because he's the only one who's all in favour of a war.

The story was released because this is meant as a warning to Russia and China - especially to Russia. The rules of modern warfare have been changed. Nobody is much afraid of the US army. For all its size, for all its budget (roughly equal to the rest of the world put together), the US military has been almost a joke for its performances against small and poor countries like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The European Union is reluctant with good reason. This is a war that could go nuclear, and it is right next door. Nuclear explosions, even if intercepted and exploded in mid-flight could have disastrous effects on Europe.

The test was a show piece, intended to warn Russia that it could block Russian nuclear missiles. That's why the news was released to the media.

No big deal? Actually, it's a very big deal.

Since World War ll, the planet has survived because all major powers had the bomb. Any nuclear attack would draw a counter-attack. That deterred any attack. It was called mutual retaliation or mutual deterrence. It wasn't perfect by a long shot. Some day, somebody was almost certain to attack. But it has saved us for sixty years.

But no more. The US can, it thinks,block retaliation with its anti-missile missiles. So mutual deterence no longer exists One country can now, it's thought, attack without fear of retaliation. The message of that test was to rub the  warning home.

So what happens?

1. Perhaps Putin will surrender. But that won't be enough. The people who control the US will insist on US dominance of the Russian economy. Then the threat will  be repeated for China and whoever is left.
2. Or,  at some point along the way, some country will say no. Then there will be an attack. When that happens, depend on Israel to seize its chance to nuke Iran. And I h ave no idea where it might go from there.

Obama has publicly and recently announced that he is committed with every fibre of his being to "American Exceptionalism". What that means is that the US has the right to rule the world as, in effect, a world dictator.

If it sounds insane, that's because it is. For a start, it would mean polluting the planet to a degree it cannot withstand. Then there's the proven fact that the US military does not have the capacity to maintain such a rule with conventional weapons.

But it's easy to fall into insanity in a country with an inflated notion of its place in the world, with big business, obsessed with greed, in control of the nation, and racist in the sense that all people who are not American are inferior.

Make no mistake. With the anti-missile, the era of restraint in the use of nuclear weapons has ended.

As well, the American play has to be made very, very soon because all that power and all that money are disappearing fast.

That's why this is the most important news story you will ever read.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21:It was last night on St. George St.....- I drove by I caught a glimpse of an elderly man. He looked pretty ragged, and he was sleeping in the doorway of a business closed for the day. Gosh, I thought. We really should do more for these people. Then it hit me. Big business has already taken steps to solve that problem. We'll borrow over a hundred million to build an "events centre'. Yeah. That that old man will have a much nicer doorway to sleep in.

That all came to mind as I read E6 of today's paper. with pictures of three people who never sleep in doorways. It seems they're being honoured by the New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame. It is, of course, sponsored by big business. That's why this province is awash in Halls of Fame and Halls of Philanthropic Fame constructed by people who nominate themselves, and who donate photos of themselves.

This one honours three people for reasons unclear. There will be an expensive gala held in Fredericton. This will provide a wonderful opportunity for the hungry of Fredericton to gather at the garbage cans for the leftover treats of their social betters.

The same Hall of Famers can also be found as members of various "community development" meetings to tell our city council what it should spend money on.

What does community development mean? Usually, nothing. It's just of those terms that makes it sound like they're unselfishly doing good for others. (No, Norbert, It's not just bureaucrats who think in silly buzzwords.)

As a rule, their proposals are almost always to get rate payers' money spent to benefit themselves. In fact, most of these people seem to have only the vaguest idea of what community development means - and the haven't a clue as to how it's done.

But they can depend on loud praise for their efforts in the Irving press - as in the case of the events centre, such a centre paid for by us would greatly benefit one of the honorees on p.E6, Robert Irving who owns the hockey team. That's has nothing to do with community development - but everything to do with getting a rink on the cheap for Mr. Irving. And that's conflict of interest.

I am often struck by the arrogance and vanity of people in business who assume that they have the right to make recommendations to city and provincial governments on subjects they know nothing about - and by the encouragement they get from city councilors and politicians. Hey the latter, are the ones we elected to plan for the future. We did not elect those self-serving clowns with their self-serving halls of fame.

Mind you, they always do include a few people who have worked to help the community. But those people are decorative. More explicitly, they are to cover the asses of all the serving business people who dominate these groups.

More serious and better-informed people could, of course, form similar  advisory groups. But we all know neither the Irving Press nor the councilors nor the politicians would pay the same attention to them.

It has gone so far that when an Irving, illegally and unconstitutionally, named himself a member of the government (in 'coalition'  means to be part of the government). It you accept that, then we all have the right to name ourselves members of the government, We don't have to be elected. We all have the right to attend government consultations, cabinet meetings, to dictate advisors in, say, finance.

That (Hall of Fame) ad at the bottom of E6 might look like a harmless piece of vanity and even arrogance. But it's not. It's at the root of the destruction of democracy that we've seen in the last 40 years and more.

To City Councillors, we elected you to plan for the future of Moncton. We did not elect those people who know nothing about social planning, who use council to get their hands on our money, and then hold galas in honour of themselves.

And a hint - the wealthy and the TandT speak of government almost exclusively in terms of money, almost never in terms of people. Normally, it's only is mention of us "people" and that our "sense of entitlement" is costing the province money.

First - expecting to have food to eat, expecting equality of opportunity for us and our children, expecting health care, expecting living're damn right we have a sense of entitlement. And it's not our sense of entitlement that has destroyed economies all over the world.

It's the massive sense of entitlement of the super-right to pillage our taxes, the entitlement not to pay any taxes of their own, the entitlement to earn thousands of times the minimum wage that others must live on, the entitlement to tell governments what to do,the entitlement to be rich because their daddies were.

New Brunswickers are nice people. They are easily the politest and friendliest I have ever seen. They are also the most frightened people I have ever seen. They have a village mentality. That is, they're afraid to be different from everybody around them. They're afraid to think differently. They are afraid to have any but the most conventional political ideas. They are afraid to discuss or even to learn about politics in any public way.

They stick to conventional thinking. That's why they elect such a series of dolts and toadies for prime ministers. The Liberals have indicated no guiding principles, no serious plan of action in any area. Alward was a toadie to big money as as having no serious plan of action in any area. The only difference between Alward and Gallant is that Gallant seems to be even dimmer than Alward. But the majority of New Brunswickers will vote for one of them

Pity. There are intelligent, informed, and honest people in this province. But it's almost impossible to get through the fog of fear in New Brunswick.
What's going on in Iraq? Well, for a change, I disagree with Gwynne Dyers' column. What's going on is what Obama wants to go on.  In Friday's paper, Obama says, "It's not the place for the United States to choose Iraq's leaders."


The US has the largest spy system in the world.

Thousands of troops were trained by somebody for ISIS. An they are so well trained, they obviously had help from some pretty sophisticated armies. The officers, in particular, seem to know what they're doing. That means a year and more of training.

Those troops were paid; the trainers had to be paid; and the troop were very well armed and supplied. That takes big money.

And the US spy services - the ones who record millions of phone calls and who hack into computers  and who have thousands of spies all over the world never knew? Nobody noticed thousands of soldiers being trained?

And most of their money and supplies came from one of the closest allies of the US, the king of Saudi Arabia.  He never mentioned it to Obama?

Please. Of course, he knew.

And it's not the place of the US to choose national leaders? This will come as a flash to dictators all over Latin America - and to democratic leaders who were overthrown or murdered by US agencies. It will also surprise people in Syria where the US has been sponsoring a "rebellion" to overthrow an elected government - and to Ukraine which is similar.

Obama is lying.

What has happened, almost certainly, is that Obama wants to force the elected prime minister of Iraq to resign- to be replaced by a Washington puppet. He certainly intends to send troops - but not until p.m. Maliki  steps down. Maliki is a sinner.

Sin 1 - He rejected a US proposal that it keep an occupation army of 30,000 in Iraq.
Sin 2 - He is too friendly to Iran. (And the US hates Iran because Iranians insist on running their own country.)

It was the same with Saddam Hussein. Yes, Saddam was a bad man. But that scarcely justifies killing a million and a half people to get one, bad man. For that matter, Saddam and the US had been buddies for years as the US supplied him with money and weapons to invade Iran. But Saddam sinned, too.

After the Iran war, he wasn't nearly as obedient to the US as he should have been. He even began making friends with Iran. That's why the US killed one and a half million innocent people.

Yes, Saddam was a bad man. But he came nowhere close to the pure  evil of George Bush and Tony Blair.

In the end, Iraq will shatter into three countries, each hating and in conflict with the other two. That suits Obama fine. He will encourage Iraqis to destroy each other just as he is now working to destroy Syria.

Divide and conquer.

If you go through American papers and TV, you will note the pressure is on to support Obama in this. And they are all falling into line - even the professional haters of Obama like David Frum. He's a Canadian who has made it big time in US opinion columns because he's at the most extreme right, just loves big business, is a vicious Moslem hater, a bigot, and is crashingly ignorant of any topic you can think of. But he always sticks to the party line.

His sister is a Canadian senator. They're a matched set.

Many papers are wagging fingers because Putin has moved some troops to the border with Ukraine. O-o-o-h. In fact,  he had pulled them back. But the fighting in Ukraine is very close to the border, and artillery shells have landed well inside Russia. Of course, Putin has strengthened border defences. He'd be a fool not to.

We can be sure the US would do the same thing. As it is, one Chinese airplane flew by well outside the American border and outside territorial waters. The US government flew into a rage. Can you imagine the US reaction if China were to land troops in Mexico and along the border?
The TandT didn't mention it, but Ottawa has just changed laws regarding the labelling of flammable goods and the use of vulnerable tank cars to transport them. This is a response, of course, to the Lac Megantic disaster.

We know that police raided Irving offices on that occasion. The initial story was that Irving had mislabelled its highly inflammable product as a safe one. And, certainly, Irving must have known the weakness of those tank cars.

But the only people ever charged were lower level employees of the railway. No mention of Irving. And, in today's TandT, not even a mention of the change in the law.
Three Israeli hitchhikers have disappeared, presumably kidnapped, while on the Gaza Strip. Israel is conducting a massive hunt for them. Reports are of Israeli police and soldiers breaking into Palestinian homes, searching for all kinds of things, arresting scores of people, and generally evening old scores.

There is such a thing as Israeli terrorism and, like Moslem terrorism, we have created it.

When European Jews needed help, we didn't lift a finger. We didn't care that Jews were being jailed and murdered in millions. We even tried to keep Jews out of Canada for several years after the war was over. The whole western world was like that. And in most of Europe, especially Poland and Ukraine, our good friends happily helped to round up and kill Jews.

As Jews fled, their terror turned to hatred. It justified the murders of British subjects and of arabs in the Middle East.  Eventually, it justified the hatred, murder, vicious imprisonment, and inhuman treatment of Palestinians.

As it so often does, the imposition of terrorism and murder turned into terrorism and hatred and murder imposed on others.

Had we helped the Jews from the 1930s on, that might not have happened. But we did nothing. The rage of Israelis grew as they realized that we were not a lot better than the Naziis.

What we, all of us, did to the Jews was unforgivable. And it has created a reaction which has essentially destroyed any real Judaism. And now that Israelis are abusing Palestinians so horribly, we're doing nothing to help the Palestinians.  Some day, we will pay for that. We are the makers of our own problems.

Reading the news in North America is depressing. Journalism has become a network of a few, very wealthy people who own newspapers only so they can use them for propaganda.And the reporters and columnists all fall into line.

They pay no attention to obvious lies except to  print them. The idea that Obama did not know of the trouble developing in Iraq is an obvious lie. They printed it. And nobody questioned it.

The idea that Russia invaded Ukraine is absurd. But all the reporters and commentators give that impression. None of them seem to have noticed that the change of government in Ukraine that caused all this was the overthrow of a legally elected government - and all the evidence is that the US staged and financed that operation.

The Irving press is still the worst - though when you see an ignorant ranter like David Frum writing for a "quality" magazine like Atlantic Monthly, we can hope we will not be the worst forever.

For now, we still hold an edge for being a journal of propaganda. and a massive lead for triviality.But the rest of North American is catching up to us.


Oh - in passing....
The front page headline is that NB has given a grant of five million dollars to a company of five million. It's a gaming consortium which will, oh, create jobs and build community - whatever that means.

Okay. But if it's so  hot and a sure money-maker, why are we giving it a grant? Wouldn't it make more sense to buy shares?

We often hear that the world is more at peace today than it has ever been. It's repeated often in news media. The origin of this story is a book, heavily statistical, on the frequency of wars. It is not a book I ever found impressive. For start, we don't even have a count of all the wars in history - or anything like an accurate count of the dead.

And I'm not just talking about our lack of data for the ancient world. We don't have anything resembling accurate statistics for wars today. We don't even have an agreed definition for what counts as a war death. That's why the count for Korea can be anywhere from two and a half million to five million or more.

But here's a statistic that might be useful. Today, at least 50 million people are wandering and living in terrible hardship and danger because they are displaced by war.  Is that a lot? Well, it's more than have been displaced since World War Two.  Talk about how peaceful the world is!

Finally, there's a recent book on New Brunswick's fiscal problems called "Over the Cliff" that has been quoted over and over in editorials and opinion columns of the Irving press. That's a hint. Mr. Irving likes it. And if Mr. Irving likes it, take care.

A major theme is that we have overspent by so much that we face bankruptcy. So we have to cut back on government spending.

Essentially, that solution is called austerity - which means cutting back on services to the public in order to balance the budget.

We know quite a bit about austerity. It's being employed all over the world to cut wasteful spending on frills like health, education, social assistance....It's been in effect in Greece for a couple of  years - and unemployment is still over a quarter of the work force. There is no sign it's getting better.

We had austerity for ten years in the 1930s. Canadian suffered terribly. And austerity didn't do a damn thing to hellp balance the budget. It never has.  The very rich like austerity, though.

It means the poor become responsible and have to pay for the economic crisis caused by the greed and political influence of the rich.   There are a couple of things to notice......

1, The very rich normally prosper in economic hard times. They prospered in the 1930s. Austerity worked for them because Canadians, in their desperation, would work for pennies. I presume the rich  ate well. I  hope so. I didn't notice because at the time I was just a baby being taken to emergency for lack of food. (My parents worked hard. But couldn't make enough to feed even themselves.)

2. Much of our spending isn't for services to us. It's for services like grants, and highly questionable (and cheap) sales of our forest land.

e..Another source of our unbalanced budgets is that the rich pay little, and sometimes nothing, in taxes That is one of the reasons for our hard times because the rich get to peddle the bunkum that the key to prosperity. After all, as they get richer, the wealth will trickle down to us.


Look - If you want something to trickle down on you, stand under a pigeon. You'll get more from that than you ever will from the rich.

Austerity doesn't work. It never has. It never will. And we ordinary people can't end the economic crisis because we never started it in the first place.

Hint - the economic crisis began to form when Reagan and Thatcher began the carnival of cutting taxes for the rich, and getting rid of regulations that hampered the rich in any way. That was when we began to see the wage gap.

And the economic crisis hit at a time when big business was building huge power in government, and turning governments into puppets.

Big business is driven by greed. That greed is what has pushed it to take over government. And the imcompetence of big business when it goes out of its only field of competence - making money for itself - is highly destructive.

If New Brunswicker's ever want to solve their problems, they're going to have to kick big business out of their governments, out of their schools, and out of their health services. (Alward's announcement today of raising literacy in NB by 2% if pure bunk. That's because it's based on a business model -and business methods do not adapt well to teaching needs.

If we  want to survive, we have to take back our province. If we don't do that, we'll just get smaller and poorer.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19: Let's start slowly...

For some years, children, including very young ones, have been fleeing across the Mexican border into the US. In March, it was almost 40,000, with some travelling as many as 2,000 miles from all over Latin America.  Why?

Nobody has ever bothered to find out.

They could be fleeing poverty and hunger; there's lots of it where they come from. It's possible that these are only a portion of children being smuggled in by American and Latin American gangsters to satisfy the sex slave trade in the US. In fact, all of these seem likely.

There are no facilities to hold them.  Instead, they are stored in warehouses, prisons, whatever is available. Are they looked after?

Nobody has ever bothered to find out.

There is evidence of a severe shortage of food for them and of medicine. But lots of Americans are suffering severe shortages of food and medicine. So why bother looking after children who are going to be deported, anyway?

All we know is that most have one thing in common. They come from countries with which US big business and government have constantly interfered, often through American-appointed dictators, so that they can be worked, underpaid, polluted, starved, beaten and murdered to keep up the profits of resource and farming giants owned by Americans and Canadians. They are the ones who have learned even at a young age  that the wealth of our form of capitalism does not trickle down to the rest of us. Not ever.

But I guess that's not news.
In the June 18 edition of the TandT, Norbert Cunningham has a column showing how to create ignorance, bias, even hatred in an innocent-looking column. He heard some civil servant (here called a bureaucrat because bureaucrat sounds more hateful) who used a silly,

Well, it is a silly word. But Norbert makes the use of such words something that is exclusively bureaucratic. He uses that word to label civil servants as people incompetent, trivial, and so different from the rest of us as to be practically an inferior race.

Norbert, I have a flash for you. Check out the language of big business - "at this point in time" instead of "now", for example. Big businesses and pompous asses in general are full of silly words and phrases. It's not just civil servants; it's all of us.

But Norbert isn't really commenting on choice of words. He's slandering a whole group of people. He's writing propaganda. Why? Because civil servants often disagree with what big business wants to do.

Tell you what, Norbert, you write a column on the inanities that spring from the mouths of Irvings.

You might also do one on the great respect commonly held by politicians for the advice of  civil servants. (But you've probably never even heard of people like O.D. Skelton.)

The TandT happily slanders civil servants and, sometimes, politicians because it believes that governments should be run by billionaires. Apparently, there's something about being born rich that makes some people wiser than others - and certainly wiser than us slobs who chose to be born to non-billionaires.
The government has cut budgets for needy students in our public schools. Way to give everybody some equality of opportunity. Of course, if those kids were so lazy as to choose poor parents, they have to expect to pay a price for it.  We can't expect the rich to pay even more taxes. If they had to, they might also have to cut positions in their private schools to deal with their needy students.
Now, to a topic I've been putting off. A reader sent me an opinion column I had heard of, but had shied away from reading. Sorry. It just depressed me so much, I guess, that I didn't want to believe it. But I read it yesterday. And, to my dismay, it's quite believable.

For background, most wars are fought for the benefit of the very, very rich.  The motives are purely economic.  That is true of every major war fought in the last, hundred years. The groundwork is laid by news media that create hatred of  "the others" and encourage us to believe that the wars are caused by the evil in "the others", and are for defending democracy or saving the Jews, or looking for "weapons of mass destruction." Oh, yeah, and Pearl Harbor".( Yes, it was a terrible attack. But yes, it was also a setup.)

Nuclear weapons, it was argued from the start, would bring peace. After all, if both sides had nuclear weapons, they would act as mutual deterrents to war. Well, sort of. What happened is that nuclear nations fought their wars against smaller nations that didn't have nuclear weapons to shoot back with.

What has followed is decades of war, mostly provoked by the US and other western powers against weaker and smaller nations.

The US, in particular, has killed millions (and tortured and starved and destroyed) in that period. But, with the most expensive military in the world, its record, even against poor and backward nations, has
 been abysmal, even embarrassing.

So it's policy now is not to go to war, but to divide various peoples against each other - and to supply them with the money and the weapons. That's what it did to create the horror that is Syria.  The US cannot conquer the world militarily. But what it can to is to encourage nations to destroy themselves. That's why the mercenaries in Syria that we call rebels are armed, supplied, and even trained by the US and a few allies. That's why it happily allows the people we've been trained to hate as "terrorists", to fight each other as well as our "allies".

That's why Syria have been turned into a horror of murder, poverty and starvation. The intention is to keep it that way. We're watching the same process in Iraq. The US killed a million and a half people and destroyed millions of homes, schools, hospitals, factories......... justifying it by lies from Bush and Blair about WMDs.
Now, it's been driven back into horror by extreme Jihadists in a move that has divided Moslems against each other. The whole Moslem world is being set up to destroy itself in constant and extraordinarily brutal wars. This is pure terror and horror deliberately created by the US, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Israel.

But US foreign policy,essentially directed by the super-rich, has been a disaster for the last fifty years. There is no reason to believe this will not be the greatest disaster of all.

(Oh, my goodness, wasn't it terrible what Moslems did, killing 3000 innocent Americans on 9/11? Let's kill millions of more innocent Moslems. Let's kill more Moslem babies with shattered medical care and starvation and bombs.)

In fact, we have created Moslem hatred of us  in over a hundred and fifty years of murder, brutality, and exlploitation notably by Britain, France, and the US. In this way, we created Moslem "extermism" and terrorism. ('That's what we call it when we murder people, and they are so treachorous as to shoot back.) The great plan now is to turn that hatred inward, against each other.

Jesus loves us. But He wants us to kill all those Moslems.

That will leave us free to deal with those evil Russian and Chinese, most of whom are ignorant of the lofty, spiritual thoughts that emanate from the Irving Chapel and the TandT Faith Page..

Meanwhile, the nuclear deterrent may no longer exist. The US has developed anti-missile missiles which, it is claimed, could shoot down enemy nukes immediately after launch. It has invested heavily in  planting thousands of those anti-missile missiles around China and Russia.

That means the nuclear deterrent to war no longer exists. If true, it means the US could launch a first strike (without declaring war), destroying most Russian and Chinese missiles before they could be launched. What affect would that have?

Well, for a start, large parts of our earth would be poisoned for the next 20,000 years or so. It is possible that some Russian and Chinese missiles would make it through to us. It is also possible that nuclear powers like Pakistan, India, Israel and even North Korea would take advantage of the situation to launch their own attacks. And those might well do enough to destroy the rest of us.

That's why I didn't want to read the article the reader sent me. But I did, hoping it would be just another bit of alarmist writing.

But it's not. It's quite well-informed and credible. Read it.

This, I think, is what the Ukraine affair is all about. It's noticeable that all the commercial North American news media have jumped on the Hate Putin, Hate Russia theme. Of course. Almost all of them are owned by the same big business people who have been running American foreign affairs since 1776. This is obviously a propaganda campaign to make us hate; and to support a war that no sane person can believe is justified.

The only comforting thought I have is that the US, while capable of winning with a first strike, may be hoping for Putin to back off and accept US economic domination. If so, this is the most irresponsible bluff in world history. And perhaps the last one.

And how does this relate to Moncton and New Brunswick - apart from the nuclear fallout? It's part of a process that begins right here in Moncton with our very own city council and our loved Moncton Times and Transcript.

But, oh, I'll save that for Saturday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17:Moncton's priorities

The Scots have a profound sense of sinning, and a constant need to repent. That's why they suffer Presbyterianism. That's why the national dish is haggis, a dish that needs lots of ketchup to kill the taste of parts of a sheep I would rather not mention. That's why the ancient scots invented a game of throwing rocks along frozen streams in winter while freezing in their kilts and saying, "We're havin' some fun, ay? (There  isn't much else to do in Scotland  in winter.)
(Oh, a small correction. ancient Scots didn't wear kilts. They were invented by an English factory owner in the nineteenth century.)

Here in Moncton, that small proportion of our population which can afford club membership and which has the Scottish desire to atone for its sins joins joins curling clubs to play the game that began as throwing rocks along the ice. That group will now get $840,000 in interest-free loans and a gift of $250.000 to expand their ice surface.

Moncton will become, we are told, an international centre of curling excellence; it will be a tourist destination. Yes, yes, I can see it all now - hordes of tourists dining at sidewalk tables, hundreds of new shops opening up around the curling rink, fame and glory and jobs for Moncton...

Where the hell is this city's sense of priorities? Where is its master plan for the future?

We don't have an adequate transportation system. And that is going to become a very serious problem as the price of gas rises. We have masses of people going hungry. We have homeless. We have housing, lots of it, in shabby and unhealthy condition.

And we're going to give over a million dollars in interest-free loans and land to curlers?

And that's the big story for section A.Oh - there's also a must-read story about how strawberry season will be delayed for two weeks.

NewsToday is its usual grab-bag of stories that tells very little. But some things are worth thinking about.

When the crisis developed in Ukraine, Obama and Kerry and our own wee toadie, Harper, made aggressive and threatening statements. A worse situtation is developing in in the middle east with a remarkably brutal attack on Iraq by a group too extreme to be permitted to stay in Al Quaeda. It's not just invading. It's carrying out mass executions of thousands at a time; it's imposing such a severe Islamic state that civil war and bloodshed can be expected for years to come.

The group is being largely paid for and supplied with weapons by one of our two, closest allies in the region.

As well, the US fought a long war and killed a million and a half Iraqis to establish the present, disorganized state of Iraq.

So where are the threats? Where is the tough talk? Not a peep out of Harper. And very modest responses from Bush. So what's up? Why the great silence?

It's quite possibly the reflection of an American policy in the region that began with Syria - to pit Moslems in hatreds and wars against each other, effectively destroying each state that follows that path. The effect will be be to smash countries into chaotic pieces with years of slaughter and starvation and horror for millions.

That will enable the US to concentrate on the region  that it has been talking tough about - Ukraine.

But why should it talk tough? After all, the "Russian invasion" -even if there was one - was pretty tame stuff compared to the illegal American invasions of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. So why the hatred concentrated on Russia? Why are we getting all mad at Putin for being evil when we didn't get mad at real war criminals like Bush and Blair? Why the upset over Russia cutting off gas to Ukraine when Ukraine hasn't paid for the stuff for years, and now has a tab of billions of dollars?

Well, it's easy to understand Harper's big-mouthing. This is village-pump politics. He wants the Ukrainian-Canadian vote. He's silent on Iraq because there is no significant Iraqi-Canadian vote.

But why is the US (and its puppet press) so busy demonizing Russia?

I'm afraid their is only one, possible explanation. The American government wants a war with Russia - and possibly China. It has, right now, the best position it will ever have against them. Russia is weaker than normal. China is still growing in power, and may soon be untouchable. If  American big business is to get control of the world, it's now or never.

Does it make sense? No.

A war with Russia and China could trigger the use of nuclear weapons by many countries - thousands of nuclear weapons. Even if Russian and Chinese weapons were destroyed en route, our world would be covered in nuclear fallout. As well, many missiles are now in nuclear subs to be launched so close to their targets that interception would be unlikely.

Even if there were a Russian invasion of Ukraine ( and there is no evidence of any such invasion - but much evidence of American interference in the Ukraine government.), but even if their were, to risk world nuclear war over such an issue would be insane - risking the lives of billions for the sake of millions.

Nor would the million in Ukraine be spared. If the advanced American site can hit nuclear missiles in mid-air, they will be hitting many of them right over - Ukraine.

I don't think Obama particularly wants such a war. Big business in the US wants it. And big business in the US owns  Obama and congress. And big business is stunningly greedy and short-sighted to a degree that flirts with insanity.

The editorial is its usual, crackpot self. The paper has at last noticed the the RCMP is underequipped even for normal duties. On no evidence at all, it blames bureaucrats for the shortage. Mr. Editor, in a democracy, it is the elected government which looks after that, not bureaucrats. And the elected government is the Conservative party led by your pet, Stephen Harper.

Excellent column by Alec Bruce on our government's hatred of immigrants. Just recently, an immigrant with Canadian citizenship was suspected by our intelligence service of being a spy for terrorists. He was jailed for nine years - no charge, no trial, just jailed. Oh, Canada. The true north strong and free.

He is now in danger of losing his Canadian citizenship, and being deported.

Canada is going back to its immigrant-hating days of the 1920s when  it would not let in Jews or Africans or Orientals - or a whole range of groups. With millions suffering horror and death in the middle east, for example, Harper hasn't lifted a finger to help. In Europe, the Romas have long been persecuted as the Jews were in those years. They still are. Harper won't let them in.

The federal government is now pushing a law to strip dual citizens of their Canadian citizenship if they commit acts of treason, terror, that sort of thing. Sound reasonable? Well, all you have to do to qualify is to be suspected by our intelligence services - the same ones who classifed Tommy Douglas as a threat to Canada because he introduced medicare. If you're an environmentalist, you're on the list........

The true north strong and free? Like hell we are. We're in a police state run by paranoid ideologues.

All you have to do be a threat to this land of the free is to criticize big business and its gofers like Harper.
Alan Cochrane contributes an op ed piece that would have been timely when we were at the height of the RCMP tragedies. That's when reporters should have been asking questions about why the police who were killed were so lightly armed. But that was when the reporters were busy writing sensationalist stories about how we were all terrorized and hiding in our basements.

Gwynne Dyer has an excellent column on the lying and twisting of a war criminal - Tony Blair who led Britain into the Iraq war.

Beware of a web site called
Some time ago, it began appearing daily in my mail box with pictures of 25 lonely women per day. So I sent a note to that I never asked for this service, and don't want it.

They were prompt in cutting it. I'll give them credit for that. But then I started getting 25 pictures a day of lonely men.

Repeated requests to the site stop sending me anything have not worked.

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16: Sound and fury meaning nothing....

I have just read the report of Brian Gallant speaking to kick off his campaign in Dieppe. What a tiresome and brainless experience that was! Gallant, it seems, is a classical political speaker. Roughly, it went something like the following.....

"Fellow Liberals, we must spend. But we must spend carefully." (Applause)

"Fearlessly, we must not make promises we can't keep."  (Standing ovation.)

"I would go further, and say we must be honest." (Audience goes wild. Maidens swoon.)

As far as one can tell from that speech, Gallant has no platform. All he has is a set of stale platitudes that tell us nothing, and that could be (and will be) made by the Conservatives.

"We must face our problems. But we must face them with confidence."  (Parents in the audience clap hands on the ears of the children so they won't hear this.)

There is no mention of the central problem of this province. That central problem is that nobody gives a damn what the voters think (Nor should they. The fact that 800 people would sit through this malarkey is a pretty strong indicator that a large number of voters don't think at all).

The reality is that this province is run by a handful of very wealthy people whose only interest is making money - for themselves. And if that destroys you health and reduces you to poverty - tough.

I have, over the years, met a number of the very, very wealthy. What struck me was the contempt that so many had for people who weren't rich. It was a contempt that amounted to resentment and even hatred. I can see now why they feel that way. Eight hundred people turned out  and listened enthusiastically to an utterly brainless speech.

Gallant is Alward. And both Gallant and Alward are obvious toadies.

There is a real world out there. And what's happening in that real world is that it is going back to  the social and economic and political world of the middle ages. Then rule was by aristocrats and kings who became aristocrats and kings because their daddies were. No other reason. Now, they are there because they are the children of the very rich.

Equality of opportunity is long gone. And, as in the middle ages, the generations after the first daddy became increasingly dotty and incompetent. But they still became dukes and earls, and they still formed the officer corps of the armies. (History books will tell you all about the heroes of the army. And there were some. But most of the officers all the way up to field marshals were crashingly  incompetent right up to World War One. The officer corps of the army was where the aristocratic  families dumped their hopelessly stupid sons. Unfortunately, we have no such institution as to old, British army for the rich and stupid. So they get absorbed into the family businesses.

Democracy is just about gone. Alward never set budget policy. One would have to be very naive to think he did.

Increasingly,  the world is run by the very, very rich - and they have shown no talent for the job. Conditions have been worsening since the 1970s. Poverty and hunger are spreading. Millions have been killed to make the rich richer. And the rich have become unspeakably richer over those years.

But what do we know? We get almost all of our news from lying news media owned by the rich. (By the way to say the TandT lies is kind. The alternative is to say it is staffed by wretched toadies and sellouts - and that wouldn't be nice.)

Gallant, in his speech, was as irrelevant as Alward ever was. Only a naive fool would vote for him. And that's good for Gallant because New Brunswick has a stock of naive fools that can put a party into power. I know that because they have done so for at least the last two elections.

Enjoy being the peasantry of the 21st century.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14: Please, Mr. Mayor....

On page A1, Mayor George Leblanc says "...police killings will not define Moncton."

Mr. Mayor, talk a walk to Victoria Part.There is a monument there with the many, many names of people from this city who were killed in two world wars. So many names - but their deaths did not define or crush Moncton. The very idea that the recent police killings might do what two world wars did not is absurd.

But you and the TandT have consistently repeated that story. The result of that sort of repetition does NOT reassure people.  What it does is to make them feel more vulnerable, more anxious.

There were tragic killings. The police acted promptly, and did their work well. It's time now for the news media and the politicians to do their work well. This constant harping on denying that Moncton has been crushed simply makes people more anxious.

And it's untrue. The people of Moncton are saddened; they mourn those who died. They are not crushed, and never were. To politicians - think of the effect of what you are saying. To the TandT, cut out the cheap sensationalism.

A3 has an ad for services at the Irving Memorial Chapel, a reminder of a name that has exemplified Christian principles as it does the Lord's work across the province. And it will have a Rev. Dr. to preach and to offer a real, high class Holy Communion.

And that's pretty much all there is in A1.
The biggest item in A2 is two pages of ads for some new place called Big League Burgers and Wings.
And there's pictures and everything.

There's also a brief story on Iraq. But I'll come to that later.
The edtiorial page    has a pointless cartoon to remind us that Danny the dog will continue to serve with the RCMP. Belliveau returns to the resurgence schtick, the sensationalism of the TandT for the past week. (Schtick, by the way, is yiddish meaning a return to one's usual behaviour, his strong point, his angle. It is pronounced sh-tick. Later, perhaps, we'll look at schlemiel, goy, shiksa, maybe schmuck, but probably not putz.)

Norbert, to his credit, breaks out of the sensationalism of how Moncton is crushed but will revive to discuss the future - and how we might prevent such shootings.

The Op Ed page begins with exaggerated prose of Mayor Leblanc - but recovers with two, excellent notes of thanks from the RCMP.
The Faith Page sermonette is a reminder of how our clergy are selective in who they mourn. Today's mourning is for the three RCMP killed in Moncton. I must have missed the one for the one and a half million, mostly innocent civilians, women and children who were murdered by the Americans and British in Iraq. And the 300,000 innocents murdered in Guatemala to please the mining companies.

I believe the sermonizer's church is the one that had a sign saying "Pray for our soldiers in Iraq". OUR soldiers.
 And please, God, kill all those bastards on the other side.
Jana Giles, a student columnist and Whatever editor, has an excellent column on the importance of study.
It's particularly important for those who are going to university. So here's the big clue - absolutely free of charge.

My BA grades were terrible. I never studied until the last minute. I missed classes. Luckily, I memorize quickly, so I got by.  Barely. But I knew I would never survive an MA like that. So:

1. I made it a point to study every day, weekends included. And, as much as possible, at the same time every day.

2. The study time was limited to a half hour. After that, I would do assignments. (that left me with plenty of free time.)

Now - how to study.

1. For each course, I had a notebook. And at the beginning of each lecture I would write the date.
2.I also had a set of index cards
   At the top of the first card were the numbers - 1, 3, 7, 30, final review. That meant the general rule was to study notes the day I got them, then on the 3rd day, the seventh day, and the 30th. (in the two weeks or so before exams I would read over all notes for all courses every day - just once each day was enough.
3, All the other index cards were dated, starting with the day of the first class.
4. in the first class, (say, history) I would write on a card the date (say Sept 10). And I would do the same for any other class on that first day.
5. I would also write Sept. 11 on the next card, Sept 12, an so on to the end of the term.
6. So once I had written Sept. 10 History (and any other courses) on card one, I would write the same on the card for Sept 13, then on the card for Sept. 20, then on the card for Oct. 20.
7.Then, in the two weeks or so before exams, ,reading the whole term's notes just once a day will be easy because you have never really lost touch with them.

The idea is that each time you review, you remember better - so you can stretch out the between study times.

Do it every day - including weekends. It will take only fifteen minutes to a half hour. But it's every day and, preferably, at the same time every day.

This is good only for rote learning. But rote learning, unfortunately, is mostly what university is about.

I had lots of Ds in my BA. But my MA was straight As. And it was done without the horrors of cramming.
Yesterday, I was reading CCPA Monitor   (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives), an excellent monthly.
One of its reports is that that cost of our new Canadian fighter jets was estimated at $16 billion in 1910. The government estimate is now $45 billion. A deeper study of the sale suggests that the real cost will be $126 billion. That's quite a jump.

It would also give the rest of our military one hell of a kick in the teeth.

It also has an excellent article on the handling of the Lac Megantic disaster. Charges have been laid only against low level employees of the railway. And they face possible life sentences.

No senior exec or owner facing that possibility. (the railway owner faces, at worst, a fine.).The shippers  (Irving), who loaded a highly volatile oil onto dangerously antiquated tank cars didn't get even a slap on the wrist. Whoever mislabelled the shipment as being of low-volatility oil hasn't even been named.

The Department of Transport has been warned for years that most of Canada's tank cars are antiquated and dangerous.. It did nothing. Now, it promises to replace those cars - in another three or four years. Whoopee for western oil coming to New Brunswick to make us all rich.

Incidentally, some of the problem is almost certainly due to the fact that Harper's budget cuts in the field of rail safety have been very high since 1910. Yeah. Gotta cut them civil servants and balance the budget so we can spend $126 billion on fighter jets.

There were also some interesting points about life in general. Only 11 percent of Canadians in the private sector are covered by pension plans. That's down from 28% in 1982.

Why don't they save their own money for retirement?  Well, it's partly because of the tremendous rise  (by 59%) of those working are working for minimum wage.

However, the good news is the the very, very rich have gained 39% in income between 1997 and 2007 - and it's getting even better.

Maybe we should shake up all those lazy unemployed, and send them to services at the Irving Chapel.

No, no.

I'm sure nobody wants a bunch of low class bums mixing with the high class bums at the chapel.

Iraq - I just don't know. We don't have nearly enough information.

It is being overwhelmed in attacks by well equipped and trained Sunni Moslems  These people, a breakaway group from Al Quaeda, want to create the severest of    Sunni states, with their interpretation of Qu'ran strongly enforced. Women for example, would not only have to be completely hidden in clothing, but would be required to remain indoors at all times as a sign of modesty.

Yes, the writings of  Islam, Judaism and Christianity all have something in common. They all blame women for the being the cause of sin in the world - as Eve misled Adam or, as the apostle Paul said (speaking of why women should wear hats in church but men shouldn't), Women should have hats in church because woman's hair is a snare and a delusion. Men shouldn't wear hats in church because  man's hair is a glory unto God.

On the surface, this is simply an invasion by one Moslem sect  on an Iraq that varies from following a difference sect to having strong elements of secularism in it.

And Obama has said he will not send troops to help Iraq - not even though militant Islam is supposed to be the major enemy of the US and the reason for its creation of a police state in the US. (Incidentally, in his speech, Obama referred to the invaders only as 'terrorists'. The US killed over a million, innocent people in that country. But Americans aren't terrorists. Not ever.)

He added that it is up to Iraqis to get their act together. Did nobody find that odd?

The US killed a million and a  half Iraqis. It bombed and shelled hospitals, schools, power stations. (Power is still unavailable most of the time.) It flooded the country with the injured and the orphaned and the widowed.

Then it approved of billions of dollars in aid to get the country functioning again. Contracts went out (to American contractors) but very, very little of that aid ever reached Iraq. Shattered schools and hospitals were simply repainted - with a bill presented for massive rebuilding that never happened. Power stations still aren't fixed. In many cases, nothing was done at all as contractors simply handed in astronomic bills for "conducting studies". (I don't think we begin to understand the level of corruption in the US).

The oil fields were handed over to American and British companies.

And Obama's only help is to tell them to get their act together.

There was an even sillier comment in a British paper, The Telegraph. It says that if the US army had stayed in Iraq, there wouldn't be any problem now. The truth is there wouldn't be any problem now if the US had stayed out of Iraq in the first place.

But why is Obama doing so little? The loss of Iraqi oil would be a serious blow to the West. And if it was worthwhile for the US and Britain to kill a million and a half people just a short time ago, why isn't it worth lifting a finger now?

These contradictions are a tremendous blow to American prestige all over the world - and a huge boost to those Moslems who detest the US.

Is Obama, reasonably enough, afraid of getting ensnared in another Iraq war?

Is Obama reserving all his military strength for a war with Russia and China?  If so, what do you think will happen to the US in the middle east and Africa if it does tie itself up in that war?

Then there's another possibility. That invading force seems remarkably well trained and well armed.  There's big money behind this. (I know they've looted banks in Iraq. But that was after the invasion. And there must have been big money spent some years before this invasion.) Where did it come from?

Our great friend in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, is  very rich. It is also very Sunni. And it strictly enforces Moslem law. It has a lot in common with the invaders. And it has been a major bankroller for the so-called "Syrian" rebels. Is it possible  Saudi Arabia is playing its own game? Is it looking to establish itself as the superpower of the region?

Or is it following the US/Russia-China poker game just in case it has to re-decide who its friends are?

How  is Israel going to feel about having a very large, Moslem superpower on its doorstep? Will it be possible to restrain Israel? (Israel has nukes. It might well decide it's now or never to use them.)

We really don't know enough about that war.It could be a serious blow to our oil prices - and the price of everything (like food) dependent on transport. Or it could be much, much worse.

We really don't know nearly enough.

And we're not likely to find out from the Times and Transcript.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 12: Enough

A newspaper should reveal the extent of a society's sorrow. And it should express its own - in opinion columns. But there is a point at which working on emotions is no longer sorrow, but exploitation of sorrow.
In the old days, that was called "sob sister" reporting. It's an abuse of readers. And it's disgusting. And it has characterized all the TandT reporting on the murders of three police.

Check the page 1 headline. "Danny to work with another Mountie". And so we have yet another picture and a long story about Danny the dog.

Does that help us in any way to understand what has happened? Does it throw any light on what happened? It simply indulges those, the sort of people who also read every article they can find about Kate and how lovely her baby is and how Camilla hates them all.

From the start, the only item I have seen in this paper that makes some attempt to find a context for what has happened is today's column by Norbert who wonders if there is a connection with such shootings in the US - and doesn't find one.

He may be right. I expect,  though, we are just slower than the US. Across North America, we are taught early - particularly by our media and politicians - to hate and fear. Then they use the hate and fear to impose spies on us and to kill other people.

It can get confusing. Moslems, we are told, are murderous. (Well, except for Saudi Arabia and the terrorists fighting on our side in Syria.) Listen to Harper and Obama. We are now learning to hate and fear Russians who are slyly linked to communism though it never was -and, anyway, Russia has been capitalist for over twenty years now.

You can see the building  hysteria and emotionalism in letters to the editor. "Our souls shaken, yet we will rise". Come off it. When did Moncton fall?  "City's soul imbued with will of iron." That's another come off it. Three police were killed. Police and government promptly and efficiently found the accused and arrested him. That's what most cities do, unless they're in the middle of a war. It's not a will of iron. It's normal practice.

"Moncton is strong?" I have no idea what that even means.

Then we have a demand for executing the accused. Of course. Pandering to sorrow and fear produces a desire to get even, to kill. It works the same way when we see reporting on those evil Moslems or Syrians or Russians.

To take a look at how it works, let's take a look at the word "terrorist". It usually means a person who kills innocent people, and who does it to create terror. But in our news media it is commonly used as a name for Moslem militant.

In fact, the killing of civilians to create terror has been common in wars for thousands of years. But it grew rapidly with the invention of the airplane and the bomb. Pioneers were Italy, then Britain and Germany. In the 1930s, German dive-bombers targeted civilians in Guernica, Spain. But in World War 2, the deliberate killing of civilians to terrorize had come into standard use by all the powers.

We seldom hear of the fire-bombing of Tokyo. That city was picked because it was mostly civilian and mostly wooden. American heavy bombers flew low, dropping tons of incendiaries. At least 100,000 civilians were killed. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasake were carried out for several reason. But one reason was to test the effect of the bomb on large, civilian targets.

The CIA and Guatemalan army killings in Guatemala amounted to some 300,000 people, almost all of them civilians. They were terrorized to become more willing workers for mining companies - with Canadian ownership prominent among them.

Since World War Two, the deliberate slaughter of civilians has become the major US means of conducting war.  Funny thing, though. I cannot recall any news medium ever referring to our side as terrorists.

The US air force killed millions And it was heroic. Moslems shot back with an attack on New York that killed some 3,000. Now, that was terrorism. And there were special services in the churches. It is still referred to as one of the darkest moments of brutality when, in fact, it pales beside the mass murder of civilians in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Iran. But there were no special services for those foreigners.

And, to be honest, we don't give a damn. Killing foreigners is okay. Let's be realistic about that because that's one of the twisted ways the mind acts.
Speaking of Iraq, the TandT was so busy writing sob stories about Danny the dog that it missed what could well be a turning point in history.

The US and Britain killed one and a half million Iraqis. We know now that Blair and Bush lied about the reason for that war. We know there was no justification for it. Most of those dead were civilians - and they were deliberately killed. But they were foreigners - so what the hell.....

The what the hell is that the war, which was one of the most expensive in history due to the stunning levels of corruption in politics and business in the US, didn't work.

Iraq has been in civil war ever since Bush swaggered across a carrier deck to declare victory. As of yesterday, Al Quaeda occupies over half the country and maybe be taking the oil fields as I write this.

Is this a big deal?

It's about as big as they get.

An Al Quaeda conquest of Iraq will destabilize the whole middle east. Israel always feared the existence of Iraq when it was quite secular. The new Iraq will be a rigidly Moslem country. Israel could very well decide to attack. And Israel has nuclear weapons.

Iraq will now also provide a staging and training area for those Moslems that the US is paying to fight in Syria. (These are all Al Quaeda, the ones the US calls terrorists - and it actually has thousands of them on the payroll. Go figure.)

The turmoil in the middle east and Africa may become so great, the US will have to give up its Russian/Chinese adventure.

More than anything, this is a symbol of the collapse of the American empire. They lose the oil. Expecting to stay there forever, the US built the biggest embassy in the world in Iraq. And they killed a hell of a lot of innocent people. And it's all now in ruins.

US foreign policy has been a disaster at least since Vietnam. Much of the reason the world is in economic turmoil is because of the money the US has wasted on losing wars.

It's impossible to tell how widely the effect of this will spread around the world with various players rethinking who it is they had better be friends with.

But don't worry about it. Read the TandT for more stories about how Moncton will rise.

In Guatemala, a young women was shot by two armed men. She was a militant who worked for a mining company and who organized other workers to get rights. Gee! I wonder why those two men killed her. The company involved, incidentally, is a Canadian one - Goldcorp.

The latter piece of news came from a community paper worth looking at. It's The Brief, published by  NB Media Co-Op. Both it and the Moncton Free Press beat the pants off the TandT. Check them out on the web.

Harper is going to get tougher on immigration. Big surprise. Ever notice that his sympathy for the suffering in other countries never extends to letting them come here? There's more than touch of bigotry and racism in Harper. He's particularly tough on the Roma, a people the Naziis hunted down as they hunted down Jews.)
Mind you, that fits in with Canadian tradition. When the the Jews were being killed, Canada shut them out and declined to lift a finger for them.

The editorial is, as commonly, a display of kissing Mr. Irving's rear end.

Opinion columns by Alec Bruce, Norbert Cunningham, and Jody Dallaire are all well worth a read.

Rod Allan still hasn't figured out what an opinion column is.

I had more to say. But I lost my notes. Honest.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10: The paper took only a few minutes to read today.

Again, TandT reporting on the killings is almost pure sensationalism and emotionalism. We know nothing about how the killer got rifle designed specifically for killing people - and for no other purpose. Where did he make the connection? Are there other such guns in Moncton?

Why don't the police have access to weapons adequate to deal with such a case?

The stories of mourning and sympathy are there - as they should be. But a newspaper is not intended simply to stir emotions. It is there to explain events to us, to raise questions, to see what has to be done in future.
So, instead of talking about the TandT,  let's see if I can get through the connection between Ukraine and New Brunswick's budget problems. And yes, there is a connection.

Back in the days of President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher, all the  enthusiasm was for less regulation of business. Let the money fairy fly free, we were told. Let it wave it's magic wand over all of us.

Coupled with that was free trade. Companies could now get away from any regulations at all simply by shifting their work to countries that had no regulations - often, as in Latin America, these were countries under dictators appointed by the US.

One result was the wage gap. Of course. Company profits went wild. Executive salaries went up hundreds of percentage points. Vast amounts of money were shifted from us to the very, very rich. The very, very rich  also gained the benefits of much reduced taxes - and easier access to  hide their profits in foreign banks.

And, of course, they continued their access to corporate welfare payments and gifts from our taxes. Many  financial institutions also broke whatever regulations were left. That's what got not just the US economy into trouble as it borrowed to bail the banks out of their criminal and irresponsible behaviour.  So it's not surprising that our governments ran up deficits.

This is not just North America. The governments and the economies of Canada, the US, China, Russia, Britain, Spain...are all much the same.  That's why the press has to emphasize the natural  (and racist) idea that Russians are born evil. In fact, Russian capitalists are exactly like ours.

Small groups of very wealthy people own most of the "democratic governments". That's as true of Russia as it is of the US. And, oh, it's corrupt.

So now we have a crisis of government finances. It's not because of frills like public education or health care. It's because the very wealthy have been plundering us for generations.

Indeed, that's what empires were and are about. We don't get much of that story in our hero-worshiping history books.

The British Empire (God bless the royal family) was as murderous, enslaving and thieving   as any empire. It killed and tortured millions. And the wealth of the empire poured into only a few pockets. Very little reached the common people of Britain who suffered squalor and dreadful living conditions until the advent of social services ended some of the pain. (Land of hope and glory, Mother of the free.)

The same is true of the US empire which murdered its way across South America, then leaped to Asia, and is now active bringing  suffering and murder to Africa and the Middle East.

It's paid for by taxes, of course. The economic benefits go mostly the the very rich. We supply the cannon fodder and the money.

But what does this have to do with Ukraine?

It's not an accident that the coup in Ukraine produced an appointed president who is an international banker, then an elected billionaire. Ukraine is marked down for "austerity" - the severe cutting of services and salaries and pensions so the poor can pay for bills the rich ran up.

At the same time, services like schools, medical care will probably be privatized. The result will be massive poverty, suffering, low incomes, and high unemployment. That's not the whole story of Ukraine. But it's an important part of it.

"Austerity" has already happened to Spain, Ireland, Greece. British governments have been flirting with it for years, with schools and police early targets for privatization. In the US, "austerity" has meant cutting off food to the poor in order to offer scandalously corrupt contracts to the very rich, semi-privatizing education (with disastrous results), privatized jails which are much less effective than state ones -and much more expensive to operate.

In these privatizations, the very rich not only get more money into their pockets. They also get low (if any) taxes. This is the rule of plunder taken to its logical conclusion.

Despite what the Times and Transcript says, balancing the provincial budget is not what this is all about. If it were, it would be nonsense. You don't bring prosperity or any measure of security to a society by firing people, lowering wages, cutting pensions and social assistance.

A society is not a business enterprise; and you cannot run it as if it were.

In any case, unregulated business does NOT create wealth. All you need to figure that is common sense and eyes. China was under the control of European big business for a century. It did not become wealthy. On the contrary, the China was not only impoverished; it was forcibly addicted to opium, and the society was shattered.

Take a long at the Congo after more than a century of western capitalism. Untold millions have been killed or died of starvation and disease. Oh, the wealth is there. It's still being extracted. But none of it gets to the people of Congo.

New Brunswick has been plundered from the start. Now, we are entering a new phase so the very rich can get whatever wealth we have left.

Would they kill to get it? Do you have to ask? They've been killing by uncountable millions for centuries to get rich. They happily kill, starve, humiliate and steal. They'll do it to us as happily to us as to foreigners.

Business is not designed to run a society. It's designed to feed off it. So when business becomes the government, we're in serious trouble.

A government is what is designed to run a society. Alas, governments at all levels in New Brunswick can think only as if they were running a factory.

The polls show that the Liberals and Conservatives lead in the polls. Remember the Liberals? They're the ones we voted against because they were so treacherous. So now, we'll  vote for them because the Conservatives have been treacherous.

Grow up! For the sake of your children, for your own sake, grow up! Neither party has a policy that even resembles what we want a society to be. And both parties kiss the feet of big business.

If not?

Then the world is facing its final violence as very big business consolidates its political and economic power for the last push to dominance.

Oh, are we intervening in Ukraine to save democracy? Come off it. Canada has never gone to war to protect democracy. The last time the US did so was in 1776. In both world wars, our democracy was not threatened. It was not the issue. That's why the US didn't join either war for some time. And, in fact, since World War Two, the world's greatest destroyer of democracies has been the US.

A vote for either the Liberals or the Conservatives would be disaster. Any further expansion of business into the public sector would be a disaster.

A reader suggested that my references to morality in business and government reflect a perhaps fanatical Christianity. In fact, though I do have religious beliefs, I am quite out of step with Christian churches. I have no interest whatever in whether Jesus was the son of God or whether Mary was a virgin. In fact, I rather think the stress on that virginity so often in the Bible leads me to suspect that mysogyny has an even longer history than we might think.  I leave Hell to Biblical literalists, and hope they enjoy it.

I  have no interest in worship or in prayer or people rising from the dead or having a father who can produce a child in a woman without sex.

I am interested in the moral advice of Jesus, and its meaning for our daily lives. Similar ideas can be found in most major religions from Islam to Confucianism. They are common sense ideas; but we live in a world without much common sense.

Morality, with or without a god, virgins and all the rest, is essential to create and maintain a human society. Our country, our world, is now in danger because so many of the very, very rich have no morality of any sort. Their only purpose in life is to make more money - and for themselves.

They have thoroughly corrupted politics all over the world. It can be very hard to find a political party that represents any form of morality at all.

That has brought us to a crisis which could be the final crisis.

Voting against the Liberals or Conservatives in New Brunswick won't solve the world's problems. But it would give the world some reason to hope.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8: Too much.....

I curse myself for writing this on a Sunday evening when I could be doing something more useful like dozing in the sun on the balcony. It's just that I have too much on my  mind.

Saturday's edition of the Times and Transcript was appalling. It was written with the style and empty-headed sensationalism of one of the magazines at the supermarket that has headlines like "Advisers shocked as Obama and Putin embrace, kiss on meeting".

We were given a picture of a city in terror - and were reassured by the mayor and business leaders that it would survive. Come off it! That sort of gush was not only the news; it was most of the opinion columns. The editorial was probably the worst of  all for mindless gush. Moncton will rise again!

1. We had one rifleman. Lots of cities around the world suffer (often at the hands of the west) from thousands of crazy riflemen. bombers, poison gas, machine guns and rockets - and they suffer it for years. After the mess we made of Iraq, dozens in that country are killed almost every day. In world war 2, London suffered massive attacks by bombers and rockets. Thousands died. But London was still a pretty lively place last time I saw it.

Contrary to the Tand T image of a city in terror, Monctonians acted well. Some institutions were closed - and very sensibly so. Some people, I'm sure, were in fear - and with good reason if they lived in the search zone. Most stayed indoors - very sensible - but there was scarcely the hysteria and imminent collapse of the city as suggested in the TandT.

The people of Moncton are a lot tougher than that.

The strongest display of emotion I saw was the grief at the RCMP station where flowers and candles had been placed. These were not frightened people. The grief was for those who had been shot and their families.

And the grief was undoubtedly genuine - and something one be be proud of about Moncton. I know plenty of cities where the reaction would be either rioting or indifference.

2. The job of a reporter is to observe and to listen - yes. But even that was done without thought. A reporter also has to have a mind that asks questions, that gets to the information we need. In this, the paper utterly failed. It was so bad, I'm astonished professional editors would allow that mindless babble to go to print.

To get any information, I h ad to go to The Fifth Estate on CBC. (Get a look at it, Norbert. See what real reporting looks like.)

The gun, I am sure, is a rifle designed only for combat.  It has a large magazine capacity, and automatic operation. That's why he could kill so quickly. As well, I thought it had rather a large magazine - suggesting if might fire a bigger cartridge than the regular combat issue  - something that could penetrate light armour or a flak jacket.

CBC reporters were the only ones to ask how and where he got such a gun - and got at least some hint of where to start looking.

They also raised the question of why those police were sent out without a rifle. Pistols have a short range, are less accurate and, in any case, difficult to fire with any accuracy. (As a long time target shooter, I've had many any embarrassment with my pistol scores.)

CBC discovered that the police cars are not equipped with rifles. Now, that is news. And that is problem we have to address. Now.

The Irving papers are sloppy, at best, with propaganda, outright lies, and reporting and editing that are beneath contempt.

That's when it's good. Saturday was not a good day for journalism in this province - except for CBC.

As a footnote, the city officials, the police and other agencies seem to have handled the situation very well, with effectiveness but without panic.

While browsing through various papers, I came across a statement by Harper (and many others have said)  that Russia is responsible  for the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s. (Russians evil so Putin evil, etc.) This was certainly a terrible period. The death toll, commonly wildly over-estimated, was still probably about  four or five million.

In fact, scholars don't know whether Stalin ordered it - though he was certainly capable of it. He killed a lot of Russians, too. So to blame Russia for something that might have been done by a dictator seems a little broad. But it's good for creating the hatreds that send people to war.


There was a very similar famine at the same time, and reaching into the 1940s. It was Bengal, India. It, too, killed about five million - and there is no question who ordered it. It was British governments under Chamberlain and and then Winston Churchill. And it was deliberate. In fact, India had a food surplus - but the British ordered it be exported to Britain though it was well known that Bengal was starving.

I"m sure it didn't bother Churchill at all. For all  his talents, he was a racist with a particular loathing for India.

Similarly, both Canada and the US forced starvation on native peoples as a form of genocide. Nobody knows the numbers who died.

Funny how you never hear western politicians talk about the butchery in India, Canada or the US.

The press of North America - and this is terribly noticeable over the past 40 years or so is dreadfully biased and hate mongering.

Ever notice that Moslems fighting against the West (often defending their own countries) are routinely called "extremists'?  The American government, which killed not only millions in Vietnam and Iraq is never called extremist. It also has killed unknown millions around the world - all over Africa, South America, Pakistan...mostly using "special forces"

Nope. Nuthin' extreme there.

Yesterday, Google news had a story it took from a wire service about how the new president of Ukraine was the hero of  the people of Ukraine.

Hey. The guy had just been sworn into office.    He hadn't done anything yet. And he can't be the hero of all the Ukraine. I mean, somebody is shooting at him.

Oh, it  has been revealed (though not much) that the British army has routinely practiced torture since 1939 - and probably long before that. It offers instruction in torture methods - but nothing is in writing.

God bless the Queen.

Okay. Now I can sleep.