Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 7:A pause to revisit August 5

I had a lot to cover in the last blog - so an important topic got lost. It's Tuesday's paper, p. A1 (NB's natural resources debate rages). It's on the development on shale gas, etc. It shows both sides - BUT - one side comes first and takes up half of a long article.  Any journalist knows that not many readers will be sticking around after the first half.

The first half is a cheer for development, and the cheerleader is Dr. Savoie of U de Moncton. (Have you ever heard Dr. Savoie make any criticism of anything the Irvings want?) There is also ample reference to Prof. Saillant's  book "Over the Cliff", which seems to be required reading for all editors and columnists at the Irving press.

Dr. Savoie opens with the scholarly observation that that the airport parking lot is jammed with cars whose owners have gone to Alberta. duh - gee, doc,I've seldom seen an airport in the world which was not jammed with parked cars. And how can you tell the owners have gone to Alberta? Obviously, you must be a man who can see around corners. And --- well---you're saying that people who have gone to Alberta for months or years or forever just leave their cars at the airport parking lot? At those prices? Wanna think about that doc?

I amazed the reporter would not pick up on that.  (No, I'm not really amazed.

He also makes the inane suggestion (and one that is both corny and old) in saying people should vote for the candidate that promises the least. Then they won't be disappointed.

Then the reporter slobbers all over Dr. Savoie calling him 'savvy' and something of an "eminence grise" in New Brunswick. That judgement is beyond the capacity of the reporter, and should not appear. This whole story looks like a kiss-up for Irving and friends.

There are, I believe, four universities in New Brunswick. But we seem, on topics like this, only to hear from one. Why? This is also the university with a senior professor who was in thick with Irving interests, and who was discovered as having faked his credentials. Now, this sort of person does not seem to be common at U de M. In fact, I have never met a U de M professor who, it seemed to me, was anybody's apologist. But the apologists and propagandists we do have come from U de M, and it takes very few such people to ruin the reputation of even the finest university. U de M really should look at this.

Briefly, what has happened is this. The rich have been bleeding the province dry through the so-called wage gap. through getting endless favours from government, and through tax cuts. And that was controlled by the rich from the start. Don't ever kid yourself that the the government  made up those budgets.  J.D.Irving himself announced he was (illegally) a member of the government, and he stacked the Ministry of Finance with his choices for advisors. We are in financial trouble, all right. But what Irving and friends don't admit is that they caused the crisis - and now they want us to pay for it.

This is a phenomenon being repeated all over the western world. But you will never hear a Dr. Savoie or a Saillant say that.

Incidentally, what are the Irving qualifications to tell us how to run a province? Oh, I know they're rich. But that's inherited - and once you've inherited enough of the good stuff, you can  hire people to run your business. But what training do the Irvings have to run anything? What were their university studies? What degrees do they have? They must be awfully shy about it because I can't find anything on the web.

Being born rich doesn't mean informed leadership any more that owning one's own chapel makes one a saint.

There's almost no news in the Wednesday and Thursday papers. To take up the slack, I googled "Information Clearing House" a collection of news stories and opinion from around the world. Some will claim that it's biased - and that is a reasonable complaint, so I treat its news with caution. But, at its worst, it never reaches the depths of bias and outright lying that one finds in the North American press - or the stunning incompetence ones sees in the Irving press.

A similar story also appears in The East Asian Times.

The story is that the Malaysian airliner shot down in Ukraine was shot down by fighter planes, not by rockets. A picture of the fuselage shows what are unquestionably holes punched by machine guns in multiple mountings as those in a fighter plane. They are all round, all the same size, and in straight lines. No rocket did that. And no machine gun  ever built could shoot from the ground to that height. This, as some witnesses said at the time, was done by a fighter plane.

The rebels don't have any aircraft. The Russians do - but had no motive to shoot it down. (Unless you believe are Russians are just naturally evil killers.) That leaves us with the Ukraine air force - which did have a motive - to pull the west into its civil war. (a pulling that Obama was quite receptive to.)

Within hours of the crash, the US government blamed rebel ground troops though, even if it were true, could not possibly be known so quickly to the US. Since then, the US has done nothing but issue threats and punishments. Significantly, it has released no evidence whatever.

Obama wants a war with Russia. We are not entering a return to the Cold War. I wish we were. We're moving toward a hot war.

Oh, and today's big news, even in the TandT - is that Russia has massed 20,000 troops on its border with Ukraine.  O-o-o-o. treacherous Russians. Except -

20,000 is by no means an invasion army in this situation. And there is nothing  unusual about massing 20,000 troops on a border with a country in civil war.

On, yes, the North American papers also refer to them as "combat" troops. Very precise and dramatic - as opposed to cooking troops or tailor troops or flower-arranging troops."Combat" is added to make it sound more evil and threatening.

Why a war? Because the defeat of Russia would give American business effective control of the Russian government, reduce the Russian influence in Africa and Asia to give American business control over those markets. None of this will do the least good to most of the people of the  US (or Canada), but it will make a handful of the very, very rich into a handful of the very, very, very rich.

And it will be nuclear g

Obama wants a war. And Harper has committed us to it. So, perhaps this Nov. 11, our chaplains will be able to dust off their usual speeches on how Canadians soldiers are sacrificing their lives to defend democracy, or help little girls go to school - whatever.

There's really nothing of substance in either Wednesday's or Thursday's paper. For Wednesday, Norbert has length his lead for "Most columns on the provincial finances without mentioning a single rich person."

The only column worth reading is Jody Dallaire, who stepped well beyond her usual beat to talk about income disparity, and how it affects the economy. This is the only column in the paper worth reading, and out-distances any column I have read anywhere on this topic.

There is really nothing to read about the election because the issues that count aren't being mentioned.
1. New Brunswick is run by big business. How do we restore democracy?
2. You cannot hope for a democracy with a population that is so illiterate as this one. This is not the fault of the schools. This is the product of a society that has never been its own master, shows no great interest in intellectual life or learning and is, I suspect, afraid to have opinions. I can't even pretend to have the answer to this. It's a sort of primitive, village mentality. But until that is dealt with, ain't nothing going to change in this province. People don't learn to read because they have no great desire to read or to think.
3. You cannot have a democracy when the only print medium is manipulative, lying, biased, and at the service of its master. People have to KNOW in order to know who to vote for. They don't. You cannot have a democracy when the only print medium is owned by people with the purpose of making sure their readers don't ever know anything. This sickness has attacked almost all the privately owned news media in Canada and the US, with private TV as perhaps the most brainless example.
This is precisely what the CBC was founded to counter. And it has done well. But governments (owned by big business) have been hostile to it - none more so than the fiercely anti-democratic Stephen Harper. Much damage as been done by budget cuts to reduce to CBC effectiveness - and to create an atmosphere of fear in the CBC. And, if Harper gets another term, he'll finish the job.

We are living through a period of rapid and enormous change, a period of putting billions into poverty so a few can be very rich, of every effective attacks by big business to take over control of all governments all over the world.

These are the issues that count. But they aren't being mentioned.

As for big business coming in to spread wealth through developing our resources, forget. Big business exists to take wealth, not to spread it. It has, for example, taken uncountable trillions out of Latin America, Africa, Asia. - leaving behind it vast poverty and sickness.

Yes might get a bit of money for letting them take what you have. But it won't be as much as they say. And it won't last for very long. It never has. You can't create a livable world or even a province on the base of rule by the greedy.


  1. Good article, although I disagree with two points. I don't agree remotely with the 'hot war' idea. The US loves to invade basket cases, but the american people-and even businesses, have no stomach for all out war. A cold war can accomplish virtually all those things you mention, and there is really nothing in Russia that interests US businesses that much-they had plenty of opportunity in the 90's, they pillaged it, then pretty much left because the society was reduced to almost third world status.

    Also, right now business pretty much runs the US. What happens in times of war is that the government REALLY steps in and takes over the pulling of the strings of the marketplace, which is the last thing business wants.

    You MAY be right, but again, without evidence its hard to say, but its certainly spurious to say "Obama" wants a war, given that he only has two years left in office. If he wanted war, all he'd have to do is move massive numbers of troops into Ukraine and call Putins bluff.

    But as for New Brunswick, I really disagree with that. Apart from some legislation I've mentioned before and which most NBers don't even know about, New Brunswick isn't any different than any other province. Toronto is full of 'educated people', and certainly doesn't have a 'village mentality'. So what is the difference in Toronto and Moncton? What genius political and ideological constructs has that city brought about? Well, it has a film festival I guess. It has traffic problems that has most of its population losing about one eighth of its life to sitting in a car, and of course it has Rob Ford.

    And what about 'change'? The last election saw essentially two parties duke it out. While their policies were different, immediately after the election you would think that Kathryn Wynne was David Alward. Suddenly all talk was about deficits and begging the federal government to spend more on infrastructure.

    In fact, New Brunswick is about the ONLY place in the hemisphere where we saw a large targeted protest against fracking, which most places simply grudgingly accepted. Whether you agree or disagree with the industry, the public got out there. In fact, locals in Kent County were out there LONG before the natives.

    So the political problems, or the 'democratic' issue you mention, is no different than any other province in the country. In fact, out west its even worse where for years they only had ONE party. And education is often a system of imposed ignorance. The Mr. Savoie you mention is VERY educated, as was Mr. whateverhisname was. When it came to fracking, the 'uneducated villagers' of New Brunswick saw through the charade, certainly much more than the 'educated' Mr. Savoie and his ilk.

    Again, people need OPTIONS, and in New Brunswick, even in Canada, there are NONE. If you aren't going to try to topple the government, you simply have to live within it. Few people want to do that, so we have what we have.

    You are right about how the rich thrive and that the poor (well, middle class) bail them out. So I don't think its fair to be belittling those same people. Again, I grew up in New Brunswick, and actually YOU give the Irving rags far more credit than any New Brunswicker I've ever met. Most don't read him at all, and most usually don't buy ANYTHING that is written in that rag.

  2. grammsy, you again you prove how little you know. There are more than four universities in the province. Also, your grammar is abysmal

  3. Oh, I learn so much from you. Yes. I always forget Callander. I think that's because I once attended a Baptist university.
    As to grammar, please give me examples of my errors. I really, really want to learn how to write, you know, real good like you.