Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nov. 21: late news. In fact, it isn't here yet.

(an apology for today. You may find two copies of this coming up on your screen. That's because while I was typing the first half or so, the cat sat on something that published it long before I had finished. This is the real one. Believe no others.)

The National post for today (Tuesday) breaks the story that Harper has ordered Revenue Canada to crack down on the tax files of "left-wing" think tanks to take away their tax-free status. He claims that they are biased. But they are not touching right-wing think tanks like the CDHowe or AIMS, presumably because they are broad-minded and open and honest and good things like that - even though they are financed by big business and very wealthy individuals to be propagandists.

Now, I commonly read reports from a variety of think-tanks, right and left. My experience is that the "left-wing" are more intelligently researched and more honestly presented than "right-wing".  Is there some bias? Of course. The fact that we can label some as "right" and some as "left" surely proves that. But the word bias is not an evil one. I have a bias against people who murder other and innocent people by the millions. I don't apologize for that. We all have biases and preferences. The right to express them is what is called "free speech", and it's an essential part of democracy.

900 university professors have written in protest to the government. Of course, Harper is deciding to target anybody who disagrees with him. For all the deaths and destruction, he never investigated the Lac Megantic disaster properly. On a far lesser note, he never fully investigated the sleaze of Brian Mulroney who, while prime minister, accepted a large valise full of money delivered to a hotel by a lobbyist (whose job it is to corrupt governments). And he didn't declare it for taxes. And it is impossible he had not done this many times before - but nobody looked at that.

No, Brian, though he spent all his life on his knees for big business, got off with a slap on the wrist. But, oh, gotta shut up them there free speechin' "left wingers".

It's been obvious from the start that Harper intends to destroy democracy. He puts contentious but important legislation into one, massive bill with a lot of other, unrelated measures, distributes it late so that opposition MPs don't have time to fully study it (or,  sometimes, even to read it all) before it's presented to the Commons for a discussion so brief that nothing useful can be discussed. Then all the smirking Goguens who kiss up to him vote for it.

This is a man who has given secret police a far wider role than we have ever seen. The big excuse for them is terrorism, and he uses that to prey on the fears of Canadians, and to accept the growing abuse of police and secret police powers in this country. He's following the lead of recent US presidents who have played on fear to effectively destroy the rights and freedoms of the constitution.

Americans have never really been big on free speech. That was surely evident with the McCarthy UnAmerican Activities committee of fifty years ago. Communism was pronounced unAmerican. Now, I have no sympathy for communism; I don't think it can work. But, aside from that, neither neither McCarthy nor the press nor the politicians seem to have known what communism meant. Stalin's state was called communism, even by Stalin. But it never was. Castro's Cuba is a lot better than it was under American dictators. But it's not communist, either. Nor is China.

But inside that intellectual vacuum, McCarthy could publicly destroy Americans for any hint of approval of communism. So it was free speech - yes, but only in the sense that the Spanish Inquisition was freedom of religion. The land of the free hasn't been free for a long time. The ticket to that loss of freedom was terrorism.  Politicians and press built up a fear of terrorists that could be used to destroy anyone who criticized the government.

Harper has done the same. I listened to his press conference on the hit and run in Quebec that killed a soldier. It was calculated to build fear, "Canadians must be alert to the terrorist threat among us." Translation - look out for all them there Ayrabs who sneak in to kill you in your sleep.

That frees him to hire more secret police to spy on those of us who criticize him and his business buddies - and report us to the Irvings of this world.

In fact, the biggest terrorists in the world are the people on our side. Harper is the most destructive prime minister in our history. Democracy, in any real sense, has just about vanished.

The National Post, never a good newspaper, is very, very late with this story.  In fact, I  have before me my October 1 copy of CCPA Monitor. It is one of the groups, along with Amnesty International, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Broadbent foundation and others that has been going through investigations that are not only abusive of free speech but very expensive to defend against.

Oct. 1. That's over six weeks ago that the story appeared in CCPA Monitor. But it's greased lightning compared to the Irving press which seems not even to know about it  yet - and probably never will.
The Monday editorial, as usual for all the editorials is about how the province can make money. I have yet to see one on what sort of society we are trying to build, what our idea of a society is, and what money that requires. You start with that. Then you set priorities for money.

Norbert's not bad on the need to improve minimum wage laws. This unlike the editorial, is a starting point to plan how much money we need.

Alec Bruce suggests that Justin Trudeau could lose the next federal election for the Liberals. I think he's right.

Craig Babstock gets all virtuous about the need to prevent violent anti-gas protests in future. Craig - it takes two to tango. The government insisted on going ahead with a project that the local people were strongly opposed to. That, as much as the protesters, is what caused the violence. But nobody in the government went to jail.

Steve Malloy fears that the price of gas will keep dropping, and all that nice, oilsands oil will just come to an end. Gee, that would be terrible, just as our summers are getting warmer. The whole world now recognizes that climate change is happening and it's a result of our use of fossil fuels. Well, the whole world knows except the oil companies and the Canadian government. But duh, we need the money to create jobs.

Duh, grow up. Burning fossil fuels will, very soon, be causing suffering and death on a wide scale. Duh, you can make more money and cause less damage by selling your wives and daughters as sex slaves on the international market. For those who insist on burning oil, check out the story on B2, "Changing rainfall common problem for entire globe: UN-sponsored book".

Other news for Monday? Not really.
Headline on Tuesday, Oct. 21, "Events centre plan reaches critical stage". No, it hasn't. The critical stage came long ago when a hockey team owner decided he needed a new hockey arena - but didn't want to pay for it.  Anyway, the story, by Brent Mazerolle, tells us demolition of Highgate Square will soon be complete, and is to be followed by construction."

Brent, reporters are supposed to ask questions. Look at your story.Demolition, construction. But that land was declared polluted by the government. Of course. It's the old railway yards. Clearing up polluted land is a long and expense job. I learned that when I did a TV interview about the  original Decarie farm of the seventeenth century in Montreal. for over a century, it had lain for under a railway maintenance yard. Recently, a huge hospital was built on it. But first, they had to dig up thousands of truckloads of polluted soil, and truck it very long distances (hundreds of miles) for dumping. It took a long time and piles of money. How come there's no mention in the story that there is serious pollution, and it will take a long and expensive time to clean it?

Or has our government decided not to enforce its own pollution laws on a city that needs, more than anything else, a new hockey rink?

You're a reporter, Brent, not a stenographer. Ask questions. Dig.
The editorial says "There is no point to supporting an oil pipeline and opposing a gas industry." Quite so. The logic would be to oppose both. Oh, I know. We need the money. But, you know, there are some things you cannot have. Your mummy and daddy must have told you that. We should be working very seriously on the reduction of emissions. But we haven't done a damned thing - not even the little things we promised to do. Of course not. The oil industry sees trillions of dollars for itself just lying there in the ground. It doesn't want to reduce emissions. It wants to create more and more emissions to make more and more money. The oil industry is owned and run by people who are short-sighted and greedy - and who really don't give a damn about us peasantry. And aren't bright enough to realize that what affects us will also affect them.

Alec Bruce says we need fossil fuels in order to shift away from them. Okay. So how come we aren't lifting a finger to shift away from them? We aren't. We never have. And I've seen no move in that direction. The reality is that the oil industry doesn't want alternative sources of energy. That would cut into its profits.

Bruce concludes his defence of oil saying "Indeed, it's a no-brainer."

Indeed it is a  no-brainer. And adding a no-brainer opinion column doesn't help.

Norbert writes about ebola, sort of. He says its okay so spell it with a capital E. Norbert, there are bigger questions to ask about ebola - starting with where it came from. So far as I know, this is a brand new disease. Isn't that unusual?

We know that the US supplied Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons and germ weapons to be used against the Iraqis. (Supplying it, by the way, is a war crime.) It didn't make the Irving press. But it made the New York Times not long ago.

If the US could produce germs for warfare, that means it must be doing scientific research into the subject. (And, if the editors can spare a reporter who actually knows how to report, they would find that such facilities exist in the US, Britain, and Canada, all working together. Then you have to test the stuff....

Oh, our side would never do such an evil thing, would it? Why not? After all, you have to be pretty damn evil just to create the stuff in the first place.

Alan Cochrane has an opinion column on selling pumpkins to raise awareness of the SPCA. He doesn't mince words. He's in favour of it.Let me read some of his biting insights for you, he says he has a dog and - you know, a dog- and, and-z-z-z-z-z-z

Jock Finlayson (you know him. He's the VP of the British Columbia of the Business Council of BC - yeah, Jock) has a column on how "....youth education more important than ever..." Good title. Too bad the article isn't about that. It's about the costs of an aging population. Nice try, Jock. But I think we already knew that.
In NewsToday, we are told that Gallant is all for an oil pipeline to New Brunswick. Hint - watch for his "researchers" to prove that shale gas is perfectly safe.

On the same page, CSIS, our gestapo, says it doesn't  have enough staff for monitoring Canadian "radicals" who are returning from involvement with Islamic militants. That sounds strange because we don't have THAT many of them, and CSIS is heavily financed and equipped. The problem might be that they're using so many spies to keep an eye Canadian "radicals" who don't agree with Harper about the environment and social services and the behaviour of big business - and, of course, to make regular reports to big business.

As an aside, I do wish our news media would learn what the word radical means. It has nothing to do with extreme and dangerous views. It means going to the root of a problem. When you swat a fly, that's radical. The oil business is both extreme and dangerous, for example. But it is not radical.

B4 has a big story on how Sweden thinks there is a Russian sub within Swedish territory. The area is quite a small one; but Sweden's quite modern anti-submarine forces cannot find anything. Still, countries in the region are huffing and puffing about Russian aggression. Maybe so. But it's hard to see why Russia would attack Sweden, thereby provoking a nuclear war.

If it is there, in such narrow water, it's amazing that Swedish detection equipment can't find it.

Or maybe it isn't there.

B5 has a story on Palestinian-Israelis being thrown out of their homes to make a district uniformly Jewish. Actually this sort of thing has been going on for years. And this one also has a very striking picture to give meaning to the story. The US has disapproved of the action as it has of other samples of racism in Israel. But everybody knows it won't do anything. Nor, of course, will Harper. "m quite sure that either won't comment, or will say if's all the fault of the Palestinian-Israelis.

There's also a story on B5 about Ukraine. It says the ceasefire has often been violated by both sides. Quite true. And this is the first time I've seen it admitted that the Kyev forces as well as the rebels have been violators. And there's an amusing note. The Kyev government also insists there must be local elections in eastern Ukraine in compliance with Ukrainian law - in other words by the government in Kyev. The article never mentioned that the Kyev government, itself, was created not by law, but by a coup.

B6 has a good story on falling oil prices. There are two, important points in it. One is that in a world of falling prices, Asian use of fossil fuel will pollute more than ever. The other point is that the Canadian oil industry recognizes that but insists we must avoid regulating because that would close the oil companies' growing market with heavily polluting countries.
The big news in Your Business is "Piano teachers help keep a song in our hearts". Zounds. I must inform my brokers at the TSX.


  1. It really should be illegal for Irving to call themselves a 'newspaper'. Just an aside, has the story about the investigation and potential charges against Irving for the bird kill shown up yet?

    Harper needs to talk tough because Harper has almost singlehandedly murdered those soldiers. Canada's involvement was never debated, it was a unilateral decision by ONE man-Stephen Harper. And ISIS did what any group who is attacked does-reciprocate. Of course its pretty obvious Harper WANTS to see more terrorism in Canada, that would make him happy as can be.

    I think its a mistake to say that Trudeau could lose the election, as in most contents in Canada, people don't vote FOR a candidate, but AGAINST another one. Stephen Harper has a year to work on it, but I think its more appropriate to say that WE could lose the election. Like in New Brunswick you could say there are no BIG differences between the parties, but its pretty clear that the small differences maybe aren't that small. If we just stand around and watch, then its likely Stephen Harper will still be Prime Minister in two years.

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