Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sept. 11: Debates dominate election campaign...

So says page 1 of section A for the Moncton Times and Tribune.. And the only possible answer to that is so bloody what.

The Broadbent Institute is one of the few left-leaning think tanks. I don't like think tanks; but the TandT ususally just loves them - though only if they're far, far right and financed by billionaires. It happily, on Monday, ran a piece of shale gas propaganda from a notoriously right-wing think tank as a featured column on its editorial page. But they probably won't mention the one from the Broadbent Institute, even though it raises the key issue in the New Brunswick election campaign - the issue the leaders aren't debating.

The gap between rich and poor in this province, this country, and the world is growing rapidly. The top 10% now get half of all the wealth produced in Canada. The bottom half (five times as many people) have to get by on just 6% among all of them, And that is not the whole story.

Most of the top 10% are making some increases. But the bulk of the increases and the bulk of the big money goes to the top 1%.

And there's nothing wild about these figures. You can find a similar pattern in Statscan statistics.

No society can survive such a wild distribution of its wealth.

In our case, the top one percent actually control (dictate) the provincial budget. They use it to create this wild disparity. They get wealthy by driving the rest of us into poverty. Then they demand that we suffer to pay off the debt they created.

The top 1% can do that because they ARE the government. They also control information through ownership of the print news media and a good deal of the electronic news media.

"Debates dominate election campaign"? I'm damned if I see why that's news. Debates are what's supposed to happen in an election campaign. The important point is that the debates are dancing around the real issue. We should be talking about restoring democracy. We should be talking about cutting off welfare for the top one percent, and about them paying their share of the debts they run up at our expense. We should be talking about the scandalous wage gap, and why it's happening.

"Debates dominate election campaign" is not a news story. It's just an attempt to create news out of an electoral farce.

Wednesday's A11 has a similar story. "Town hall sparks debates on election issues. This is a report on a big, big public meeting to hear the candidates for Moncton Southwest.

It's, perhaps, unfortunate, that only one Moncton Southwest candidate was there. That one was Rish McGlynn for the Green Party. The NDP candidate couldn't be there; but at least the NDP sent a candidate from another riding to represent itself. Liberals and Conservatives were completely absent.

Not that it matters a whole lot. Only 35 voters bothered to show up. But don't blame the reporter for that overblown headline. It's the page editor who writes the story headlines.

Thursday's section A is equally useless. "Metro police services back to normal". This is just an attempt to milk one more long story out of the shootings of several months ago. There's really nothing to tell. But it goes on and on saying nothing.

It's in a class with all the stories about how incredibly brave the people of  Moncton were in the days of the shootings and the manhunt. Boy, if only the Vietnamese and the Iraqis had the incredible courage of the people of Moncton ---well---if only----

The rest of Thursday's section A is trivia - except for a "story" that is really a free ad. Moncton Wesleyan church is hosting a simulcast of some evangelical effort called "Living Proof". And it's all about how women can learn and live and God's word. And it's only $25.

Well, it doesn't really grab me. But I might spring for 25 loonies to see a simulcast of how the Irvings live and love by God's word.
Wednesday's Alec Bruce column does a solid job on Harper's motivations in supporting scientific research such as northern exploration. And they are very,very political.

Norbert writes on the provincial debt-----again. And again. And he does it without once mentioning the people who are sucking the money out of this province. No, in his view, it's them there poor people what's doin' it. Norbert. we tried to solve a debt problem in the 1930s by cutting government services. It didn't work. It never works. You cannot make a society prosperous by making it poor. What ended the depression of the 1930s was war -and a government that could find money for war that it couldn't find for it's own people when they were hungry. It also ended the depression was that big business had a lid tightened on it, allowing civil servants who knew what they were doing to do an outstanding job of managing the economy through the war.

On op ed, Rod Allen still either doesn't know what an opinion column is - or has nothing to say.

Beth Lyons does, and does it well on a topic we don't take seriously enough - the dreadful exposure of indigenous women to violence, rape, murder. Harper has made it clear he doesn't give a damn. Beth Lyons draws attention to campaigns to make Mr. Harper take action. There will also be a vigil in Moncton at New Brunswick Community College on Oct. 4.

Thursday has a bizarre editorial for the TandT. This is the paper that has a record of savagely criticizing out  hearlth system, and which virtually trashed the report  on the risks of shale gas prepared by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eilish Cleary. Thursday's editorial opens with praise of our health system as "one of the very best in the world.: That is - one of the very best "whatever its current shortcomings." (I'm not sure how to interpret that. But I'm damned if I can see why one of the "very best healthy systems in the world" has been so much attacked in this paper.

It also speaks of t hose "noble New Brunswickers"  who are in Africa to control Ebola. One of them is a person they treated in vile manner during the shale gas debate - Dr. Eilish Cleary.

I wonder how many executives of SWN and Irving will be among the "noble" ones risking their lives to fight Ebola.

Foreign news for both days is largely useless. For example, Thursday has a report from The Associated Press on peace negotiations in Ukraine. It's drawn entirely from a Kyiv point of view, with lots of references to the sins of Russia. The final sentence is a gem. "The Ukrainian public has been largely supportive of the war against the separatists." Oh, really? Has there been a vote? Is there a source for that gem of information?

Wednesday has a very similar story, also from The Associated Press, on the investigation of the shooting down of an airliner over Ukraine. It's on p. B3. This is a report on the official study of the cause of the crash.  The answer, so far, is that it was destroyed by "high energy objects". But they have haven't seen the wreckage yet; they don't know what the obects were; they don't know who or what did it; and they won't know for another year.

But the American government knows. Yeah. It knew from the start. They knew it was Russians. Right from the start, before they even saw the wreckage, they knew it was a Russian rocket fired from the ground. And when the investigators made their report saying they were still a year away from a conclusion, the State Department immediately announced that this was sure proof the Russian had done it.

Well, maybe. It can happen. Some years ago, an American warship shot down an Iranian airliner over the Mediterranean, killing everyone aboard. But the American government never talks about that and, so far as I know, never even investigated. It also set a bomb in a Cuban airliner killing everyone aboard. And I don't recall any indignation about that.

Now, I've seen newspaper photos of the Malaysian airliner. (They may even have been in the TandT). There were, indeed, holes in it which were certainly made by "high energy objects". But the holes were small, and all the same size. There were at least four lines of them, equally spaced, going up the fuselage.

A rocket doesn't do that. Those holes were made by machine guns; and the number of lines of them suggests machine guns mounted, equally spaced, on a fighter plane.

That plane could well have been shot down by a plane of the Ukrainian air force. And Kyiv had a motive to do it. This could trigger a general war, and Kyiv needed a general war because it was doing badly on its own.

Both reports from Associated Press are not what they claim to be. They do not report fully and honestly about the events. Both of their reports are essential propaganda that "the Russians did it".

They also give the impression that NATO is completely in support of US policy in Ukraine and Iraq. In fact, it is not. They are not fully in support of US policy in Iraq because they don't care about Iraq. And those who are helping the US, like Canada, are doing the minimum possible. They don't all support the quarrel with Russia because the sanctions hurt them more than they hurt Russia, and because any war in the region would expose Europe as a battlefield.

For reasons I'll explain later, Obama's policy on destroying IS makes no sense. But before I do that take a look at B7 of Thursday's paper. It's one of the very few good news stories I've seen in the Irving Press. And, surprise, it, too, comes from the Associated Press. "Islamic State has several limitations."

This points out that the IS army is relatively small, even in comparison with those of Iraq and the Kurds. It has no air force. It has far less firepower than the Iraqis and the Kurds. This is not the fearsome army that has been portrayed in our news. There is a strong possibility of the whole region bursting out in war ( much of it already is). But IS, itself, is by no means unbeatable.

The bigger danger, the one that could trigger a much broader war, is Obama's decision to play a role in this war, even if it's only in the air.

Groups like IS are created by war. In 1941, Churchill and Roosevelt agreed that the war against Germany was a war for freedom and democracy. At the end of the war, they extended freedom and democracy to nobody except some European countries.

The US tried hard, but failed, to establish a puppet dictator in China. Parts of the British Empire had to fight - or at least threaten to fight - to get their freedom. Britain controlled most of Africa and the middle east  (with help from France and Belgium). They didn't give freedom or democracy to anybody. When countries, like Egypt, demanded freedom, Britain sent troops. (President Eisenhower was furious. But that was because he intended to replace the British Empire with American rule.)

The British owned Palestine. Without asking the people of Palestine, they sliced it in two, kicked out Palestinians into the small part (without giving them national recognition) and handed over the rest of Palestine to European Jews.

When Congo revolted, kicked out their Belgian rulers and democratically elected a president, the mine owners had the president murdered - and went back to the old ways of inviting foreign resource companies to come in, impoverish and brutalize the people, and loot their resources. (And there are Canadian investors who have done very well out of that.)

The US kept all its puppet dictators in Central America, murdering Guatemalans who dared to set up a democracy, and putting a military dictator in charge. Not long ago, When Haiti had the impudence to overthrow its dictator, and to democratically elect a president, the US invaded to exile the president and to set up a phony election to elect one of their boys.

The only one who successfully defied the US was Castro. And he's done it for over half a century. That's why they hate him.

When Egypt at last held a democratic election not long ago, the US disapproved of it, and immediately helped the army to overthrow it. It maintains, as its closest ally in the Middle East, a Saudi Arabia ruled by the strictest dictatorship in the world. (with the possible exception of North Korea.)

The Moslem experience (and the experience of others) of more than a century of western intrusion has been killing, exploitation, tremendous social disruption, arrogance, deprivation. The world's biggest terrorists are the armed forces, the mercenaries, the special ops teams of the US, with NATO tagging along because it has nowhere else to go.

The United Nations, international law, don't exist. We can thank the major powers for that.  In the US view, it and only it, has the right to intervene in the affairs of other countries  (Can you imagine the reaction of the American government if Russia were to intervene in a civil war in Mexico?)

That attitude, that scale of killing, that destruction of democracy wherever it shows its head, is what creates organizations like the Islamic State. I fail to see how that attitude and that killing can do anything but create even more extreme groups.

Meanwhile, we have troops in Iraq. There was no discussion, no debate about it. If the war gets worse, we're in it, like it or not.

We also have troops, aircraft and at least one warship in the area of Ukraine. I don't know about Obama, but there are influential people in the US who want a war with Russia. Obama probably doesn't. That's why he's pretending to be aggressive there while actually doing nothing. Our troops, aircraft, and our warship are on site to help Obama give the impression he's taking action. It gives Harper a chance to look helpful while actually doing nothing.

But if anything happens, we're in another war - with no discussion, no debate. Think of it. There is a Canadian warship floating around for no useful purpose in the waters off Crimea - an easy target for an accident - or incident.

And we can all chant on Nov. 11 that they died defending freedom.

Oh, my, this was a long one. I  had hoped to talk about a possible reason why some people in the US want a war with Russia. But it will have to wait. (It has a relation to New Brunswick's budget deficits.)

On Thursday, Sept. 17 at 1:30, I'll be at Rose Hall in People's Tower on St. George to register people for a class under the auspices of Tantramar Seniors. It will be - sort of - about current events - but it really won't be about that. It'll be about the ways we think about them and react to them. So it's not really about the events. It's about us and what affects our thinking. And it will, I hope, encourage lots of discussion among all those who attend. I don't want this to be just a lecture class.

It's also on a topic I've never taught before. So it'll be a challenge for me as much as for the students.


  1. Mr Decarie...It has been awhile since I read your blog because although sometimes informative I find you far too negative.You are an intelligent enough person to make points without being so unnecessarily "harsh" and in some cases with inordinate speculation and exaggeration etc ...and FYI , I arrived late at the simulcast and wasn't charged a thing

  2. It's a little hard to answer charges that are vague. Give me examples of harshness, speculation and exaggeration, etc.
    As to the simulcast, I presume you are referring to the evangelical one. Their ad said there was a charge for it. I presume they let you off because you were so late. So what does that prove?