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 match.com
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 match.com 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.


  1. Good comments, however, your information on the kilt is out of date. That theory about the kilt's origins have long been proven false with numerous archeological digs and drawings. And its worth noting that Thomas Rawlinson did NOT design the kilt but rather he took it to a tailor to do that, and his identity remains unknown (so he could have been a scot). And all he did was cut the great kilt in half.

    What I especially find sadly amusing about that is the number of bigots online who constantly gripe about french and other minorities getting money for cultural events, but of course no doubt they don't think of curling as 'cultural'.

  2. okay, so he took it to a tailor. But cutting it in half created what we call the kilt. The traditional garment was a tunic or dress which reached from shoulders to knees - and it was common in many parts of the world for millenia.

    And I have to admit I don't think of curling as 'cultural' - certainly not when most of the people playing it here and round the world are not Scottish, and and the rest have left their Scottish roots far behind them.

    I have a kilt, a Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket, the whole works. (I'm not only partly of Scots descent, but am a Captain-Lieutenant of a regiment that was disbanded almost three centuries ago. (It's a long story).

    French and other minorities get money for cultures that are still alive over here. Not much Scottishness is left.

    In fact, what we see at Burns' dinners and such affairs is an anglicized Scottishness symbolized by Queen Victoria's long stays at Balmoral Castle. Some Scots call it "Balmoralization".

    But you know more than a bit about Scotland. So let me pick your brain.

    When I was a child (and a very cute one) my mother (a highland Scot) used to sing me a lullaby. Originally, it was sung by women while pounding wool on a table to dry it. The opening words (Gaelic) sounded like Hayla , hayla shayla.....

    Does that ring any bells?.

  3. Evidence is that the cutting in half was actually done long before. It was actually a published story that invented the myth that there was no kilt before this, check out the wikipedia entry, it has footnotes.

    But for curling, that was mostly sarcasm, however, when a cultural attribute becomes mainstream, you can hardly call that 'not much scottishness left', its quite the opposite. Although I'd say its more age related, as I suspect if you took a look at the sport you'd see a pretty obvious demographic.

    There's no doubt about anglicized scottishness. I spend a couple hours every week with an 85 year old highlander who was in the Gordon Highlanders, who scoffs at his kids wearing kilts to their wedding and numerous times has explained to me just how to put on a kilt (such as kneeling down to wrap it around you so that when standing it perfectly covers the knees). And while I'm not up to date on gaelic lullabies, what I know from my scottish acquantances is that if you had said what you wrote about the kilt while in the highlands, they'd cut your throat.

  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29-LRuuqFT0