Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 14, part two: (actually posted on July 15 and catching up with the Tand T of August 12))

Readers who check other sites I mention might have been trying to get Information Clearing House a few days ago - to find it closed. This has been a regular occurrence for some years. Unidentified hackers break in to put it out of service. Of course,  we know the hackers can't possible be government agencies.

I should also mention that if you scroll down a bit on the site, you will find, on the right margin a long list "alternative news and opinion sources".  I am not familiar enough with most of them to make any recommendations. Something else to catch up on.

The only big news on the front page is the death of Robin Williams. (The story is actually in News Today.) Somehow, this is one of those stories that, for reasons I feel rather than understand, seems to mark the passage of an age - and emphasizes the loss of it.

A3 has a story about about awarding grants to preserve and to encourage buyers for "heritage" buildings.  Their definition of heritage seems to be anything that's old -which could make me worth a pretty penny. The story featured a photo of Castle Manor.

What does Castle Manor have to do with any heritage? How does it figure in the history of Moncton?

Architecturally, it's a tasteless imitation of castle architecture of a thousand years ago with obviously phony ramparts. The style was (unwisely) revived for churches in the nineteenth century. But Castle Manor is a double stinker. With the general shape and function of a working class apartment building of the 1940s, it is simply a bad taste copy of a bad taste copy. Why one earth should an apartment be built to look (sort of) like a castle? Only with none of a real castle's sense of purpose and history?

And in this province, where we are going to lose essential services  to balance t he budget, we have lots of money to preserve that grotesque pile of rock, and lots to give millionaires so they can buy it.
A7 has the daily quiz of provincial party leaders on the question of the public service. Most jumped on the band wagon to reduce it because we have proportionately more civil servants than most other provinces.

Well, of course we do, you twits. Whatever the size of the population, each branch of the public service requires the same number of people ( 1) to head the various departments. A committee to plan education will need the same number of people no matter what the size of the province. The work to be done does not get all that much smaller no matter what the size of the province.

The first issue is not the size of the civil service. It's the size of the job to be done. If we want to bring our civil service in line with other provinces, then the logical response is to unite the Atlantic provinces into one, big one.

The only party with an intelligent answer to the question was the NDP. (Note - I am not an automatic supporter of the NDP. I have been very disappointed with how it has gone from being a social democratic party to being just another Liberal party.)

Dominic Cardy, NDP leader, said, "It's a question of what do we need to deliver the public services people want." That's not only an intelligent answer; it's the only one that suggests a philosophy of what government is.  You start with the people and what they need, not with what some billionaire wants.
The death of Robin Williams dominates the news in NewsToday. That's not surprising. The rest of the world is marking time. What we should be looking for will happen within days.
1. Israel and Hamas will have decided for or against a peace deal. My guess is they will decide against. Israel has no intention of giving up its dominance of Palestine. And if Palestine cannot get freedom from Israel, then it might as well go down fighting.
2. A large Russian truck convoy of humanitarian aid is heading for the Ukraine border with food and medicine for those caught in the fighting. Putin has to do this - or he becomes a straw man leader in the eyes of Russians and, indeed, of the world.
The Kiev government says it will stall the convoy at the border for a week or more. Of course. The Kiev government needs a war that will suck in NATO. And that might do it.
3.Iraq? Anybody's guess. Isis is the middle east response to all those years in which they were killed, pauperized, looted for the benefit of western empires - most recently, the American empire. This could trigger one hell of an explosion throughout Africa and the Middle East. The fall of an empire is not a pretty thing to watch.

For the Tuesday edition, Norbert took off on British historian, Dominic Hardy, who teaches at Oxford. But Norbert knows more about history than Hardy does.

Hardy wrote an article suggesting that the world would be a better place if Britain and Canada had not joined into the war. But he's not up to Norbert's standards. No, says Norbert, good historians don't speculate "...what if..."

It's coming out of  your ears Norbert. I worked in universities for 40 years. I've know a lot of historians (I am one), including a few of world reputation. We often speculated on the what ifs of history. As long as people know that what  you're offering is an opinion - and it was clear with Hardy - there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, training in history provides the skills to examine the what ifs.

And one can even project the what ifs into the future. What if the US water shortage continues  (as a result of climate change)? The only place to get more is Canada. What if Canada limits the water it sells because of the effect will it have on us?  Would the US invade? (Answer, if Harper is still PM, the US won't have to invade. He always says yes to US presidents.)

When Hardy says politicians often rush into war without any care for their citizens who will be killed, Norbert really gets his petticoats all messed up. He points to Neville Chamberlain, and his reluctance to go to war with Hitler. Well, yes, he was reluctant, but with good reason. He knew that Britain was nowhere close to being ready for a  major war. Later, it would prove how unready it was at Dunkirk.

 And the US did. as Norbert says, enter late - but that had nothing to do with opposing war. It had to do with not caring a damn what happened to Britain; and hoping to pick up the pieces of its empire when Britain collapsed. It was Hitler's invasion of Russia - as much as the bombing of Pearl Harbour - that saved Britain's butt. Until then, it was beaten and hopeless.

Then he says World War 1 gave us the League of Nations. Big deal. It didn't do anything. But then - after World War Two - there were no more wars between major powers. So that shows war can make good changes. Gee, Norbert, ya think that might have something to do with both sides having nuclear weapons? And if the US prevents wars, how come we've have nothing but wars for over fifty years? Is war okay if it's just big countries slaughtering small ones?

And if the UN is the great, beneficial result of World War One, how come we have the possiblities of war with Russia and China looming? Not to  mention most of the Middle East and Africa.

It seems Hardy's real sin in Norbert's eyes is that he's anti-war. Oh, naughty baby.
Speaking of war, I do hope we get a sketch of General Currie in the series on Canadians in World War 1. He commanded Canadian troops in the last half of the war. As a real estate dealer with almost no military experience, he seemed an odd choice to be the senior commander in the field. And he did make mistakes at first. But Currie was a fast learner. He turned out to be a brilliant general, one of the best on either side, so good that the British prime minister once suggested he should be commander of all the British and Commonwealth armies. (Of course, his success made him enemies in Canada who hounded him for the rest of his life. There were a lot of Norberts around.)
Two letters to the editor are worth reading - one bad and one good.

The good one is "Are you ready for the future?" The writer talks about the huge problems, especially relating to environment, around us. Is our province ready? In fact, our province hasn't even started to think about it.

Then "'Giving back' is poor choice of words." because it implies money given by businessmen is not really their money, their property. Hey. They worked for it. It's theirs. They don't have to give anything back.

I have the feeling the writer is a regular church-goer, primarily because going to church is respectable.

Look. We live in a civilization - you know, an organized society. Nobody, NOBODY, makes money all by himself or herself. We need the educaton that ALL of us provide. We need the justice system and the roads and the forests and the mines that ALL of us provide. We need large numbers poor people so that Walmart can get them at minimum wage, and make its owners rich. NOBODY gets money without lifetime help from all of society.

And please don't tell me the rich work hard for their money. I've shaken hands with many of them, and I've never felt a single callous. There are single mothers with children who work a  hell of a lot harder than any Irving, and they do it for a starvation wage.

We  fight wars and the poor die to make money for the rich. (The first to volunteer in a war are the unemployed.) We all create wealth. And it belongs to all of us. And certainly, we should all get the benefit of it.

I would advise the letter writer to talk to Norbert. I think she'd like him.


  1. Ohhh! So close. Just about completely conspiracy theory free but it still got you bit! Suuuure, 'governments' want to close down 'information clearing house'. Its not like you can find anti war websites anywhere but the 'information clearing house'.

    Dude, everything that is on their website has been covered ad nauseum on democracynow, skynews, heck, the british Independant covers all that stuff. I just went to their website, virtually everything that is there is easily found on MAINSTREAM media websites let alone the millions of anti american/anti war/anti oppression websites.

    Heck YOU write more extreme stuff than him, how many men in trenchcoats have paid you a visit? The one thing government knows about conspiracy theorists is that 'organization' isn't exactly in their strong suit, and they usually aren't even voters. You write great stuff, but when the conspiracies come out, well, thats not good blogging. But again, pretty impressive when you consider the quantity you put out.

    1. Of course there are other papers that cover this sort of news. They are where ICH gets its stories. But very, very few New Brunswickers (or Americans) read them.

      And men in trenchcoats HAVE visited Information Clearing House. And its site HAS been attacked and closed many times over the years.

      I'm sorry I can't provide sources to prove the government was behind it all because conspirators don't normally invite reporters and TV cameras to their meetings.
      But the US DOES have a long record of illegal spying, intrusion in matters of privacy, abuse of police powers It's a police state, remember? I see nothing improbable in them knocking that site out from time to time.

  2. "We live in a civilization - you know, an organized society. Nobody, NOBODY, makes money all by himself or herself. We need the education that ALL of us provide."

    And that pretty much sums civilization all up, Professor Decarie. Great post. Thanks.

  3. The only thing that is 'improbable' is the fact that its a website no different than at least 100,000 other websites out there which the government has pretty much zero interest in.

    Guys like Private Manning, guys like Edward Snowden, or the wikileaks guy, these are people the US obviously takes very seriously. Some nut with a website that collates stories from other websites? That's in the 'yeah right' category. Heck, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have more edgy material than ICH.

    Websites go down for tons of different reasons, I'm real sure there are guys in the NSA or Secret Service going "hey, yeah we know about China, Russia, and Iran, we're after Julian Assange, but what about this guy who has a website that says crazy stuff about us, we really can't let that stand, well, people might actually believe bad stuff about us".

    On the website today: "U.S. Weighs Military Rescue Mission for Yazidi Refugees". Wow. Oh yeah, the US government can't let reports like that stay out...oh yeah, except that they were the ones who announced the whole thing in a press conference.

  4. Intelligence services, especially when they get as big as those in the US and as superbly equipped to get information and to record it, are NOT entirely rational in their choice of what is important. They ARE and HAVE BEEN harassing ICH for some years. The site's owner HAS been visited by police and HAS been threatened by them. You can get put down in their black books just for being secretary of an environmental group. They have uncountable millions of pages of info on clergy, teachers, journalists. They're by no means all zeroing in on Julian Assange.

  5. The simple reply is....prove it. From all I've seen we only have the 'word' of the guy who runs it. I did a quick search, the only one that comes up is the one I read before, from another website owner who claims "I do know this, Tom is no bullsh***er".

    And even in his story he doesn't say police OR government agents, he says 'men in black suits' who showed that guys wife 'some kind of gun she had never seen before'. And apparantly anonymous people on the street who accost him and threaten him. Not surprising, heck, this is the US, there are blogger who write celebrity gossip who have been threatened to stop what they are doing. You go to a Justin Bieber concert and start trash talking him, and you'll probably get pummelled to death by 25000 angry teenage girls.

    However, we weren't even discussing that, the guy sounds like a loon, and the website sounds like a device to get even looniers to send him money. All the website is is a collation of articles by other people, heck, YOU put more work into your website than he does, and you do it for FREE.

    So I wouldn't be surprised if police may have visited him, but not about his website, although I never read all through and he could have been threatening people or writing hate speech or who knows what is in there.

    In any case we were talking about shutting down his website, which would be ludicrous because virtually all his articles are readily available at the websites he is linking them to.

    There's no doubt about information gathering, the Irving security forces at the Rexton protest weren't taking pictures just for the fun of it. However, most police don't have two clues how to organize a DDOS attack. It probably took most of their team to manage to shut down wikileaks for awhile. I would believe that they'd try to shut down YOUR blog before I'd believe they were trying to shut down his, and I really don't think anybody is trying to do that.

    Like any theory you MAY be right, but emphatically proclaiming that something is true is not the same as evidence, or even a plausible reason why anybody would want to do it. But when somebody is asking for money at a conspiracy website, I can certainly see a VERY good reason why somebody would want to TELL their readers that they are being persecuted.