Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Nov. 4: I didn't think they'd publish it.

When the UN published its report on climate change, it said that a) it is almost entirely man-made b)it's largely a result of the burning of fossil fuels c) if continued, it will destroy all life on this planet c) the time we have left to stop it is shorter than earlier realized - in fact, very shortly after the completion of the Moncton Events Centre d) this is the unanimous opinion of most scientists all over the world. It's not just David Suzuki.

I didn't think the Irving press would even publish that story. But I guess it was too big to ignore. (Of course, it's not too big to lie about. I note that PM Harper has reacted by saying Canada has made huge advances in cutting down on fossil fuels. In fact, it's not even meeting the very modest objectives of 20 years ago.)

Well, I  thought, I must check the opinion pages. This is a huge story, and right on the nose as a New Brunswick issue. So I turned to the editorial page first.

The editorial was about cleaning hospitals. Norbert was about the sex scandal at CBC- and was really just a Norbert rant about CBC in general.  Craig Babstock was on the same topic - much more civilized than Norbert, but not particularly informative. And Steve Malloy was on the same topic - but Malloy was at least far more civilized than Norbert was, And far more insightful and original than Babstock was.

With Malloy, the only other column worth reading is by Alec Bruce who raises some very uncomfortable questions about the Toronto mayoralty election - and about the surprisingly high support for Bob Ford (who had no platform in particular and who is connected to the most scandalous period in Toronto political life.)
We might well wonder exactly what the "Ford nation" is, and what it's existence warns us about the future of Canada.

Othewise, Secton A was quite wonderful. The headline, yet again, was about Moncton's wine expo. And there's a whole page of colour photos of people drinking wine so readers can know what people drinking wine look like.

Anyway, I thought, Tuesday's issue would surely give more space to the UN warning about climate change.

Nope. The banner headline on A1 was "McKenna endorses idea of second pipeline". Yes, that's our McKenna, the old shill.  This time, though, he forgets himself, and admits on A6 that the environmental position is a sound one but "...we can't go on being the only Boy Scout in the world saying we aren't going to exploit our province........we are going to continue to have a need for fossil fuels well into the future....we should continue to extract the maximum amount of money available to the Canadian economy."

I have rarely come across a more foolish, stupid, illogical and irresponsible statement

Almost all scientists and the UN say that climate change is happening, that it's happening because of fossil fuels, that we have very little time to stop it. And McKenna agrees with that. Then he concludes that though it is destroying the world, we have to continue using it WELL INTO THE FUTURE because it will make money for us. Duh.

That's exactly the sort of statement I had in mind whenever I wrote about how big business is both greedy and stupid.

But, hints McKenna, we won't be using much of that oil in the Eastern Pipeline. No, we'll be exporting it for profit.

Oh. Gee.

And just what will our customers do with it, Frank baby? Burn it? You hit it on the head, kid. And what do you think will happen to the carbon dioxide that will produce? Do you think it will go straight up in the air but stop at their borders? So only they will suffer climate change?

Almost all the delay in dealing with climate change has been due to the unwillingness of the blockheads in the oil industry to recognize that we cannot go on using fossil fuels. And what they have done is to throw away decades when we should have been working on this problem.  They spent billions buying politicians, setting up "think tanks" to spread lies and propaganda, and using the news media they control to put the whole world at risk for their profits - which will be quite useless even for them on a lifeless planet.

What has happened is that the oil industries which call environmentalists crackpots have turned out to be the biggest crackpots in the world. and the ones who have enraptured all the little crackpots who think they know better than almost all the scientists in the world. (Incidentally, our spy service protects us by investigating environmentalists as possible terrorists, and it reports on them twice a year to big business. Hey! It's our tax money. Couldn't we tell CSIS to investigate McKenna and the Irvings? And report to us?)

So I turned to the opinion pages to read words of wisdom on this issue, the outstanding issue of the week.

No luck. Norbert is still caught up in the sex scandal. Alec Bruce looks more reasonable; but what he offers is just another pitch for shale gas. As for the op ed page, one column is a reasonable one on the federal government's proposed family tax sharing plan. The other is by a hack  (Senior Director of Natural Resource Policy Studies) at the far, far right wing Fraser Institute which is funded by the oil industry and other big business leeches.

Look, folks. the most eminent scientists in the world are telling us that climate is changing, that can kill billions of us and maybe all of us. Time is running out. It may already have run out. To ignore that, to refuse to even suggest what we should do to  get off fossil fuels  is worse than evil. It is stunningly moronic.
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So I turned to Your Business for the big scoop of the day. And it's about yet another businessman being inducted into yet another Business Hall of Fame.

Who could possibly give a damn?
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Somewhere in these papers I saw a note that the US recession is over. Well, yes, it's over for the very rich. But it was never on for them in the first place.It has not ended for most Americans - and it's not likely to. Lower unemployment figures are coming out only because so many of the unemployed have accepted the hopelessness of it all, and have dropped out. So they don't count as unemployed any more. For those who do get employed, it's happening at lower salaries that were too low at the start.  The levels of poverty and suffering in the US never seem to make our news media.  For a look at what's going one, try this site -  www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40116.htm
It's called "The American Dream, Gone"
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On a more interesting note,  I found a site on World War 1 that looks good. I've read only one entry so far - but that one, at least, was well done.  The site is:

www1.canada.com/after-the-war/how-the-last-gallipoli-gunboat-was-saved

What follows is way off the blog topic. But one sometimes needs a change.

The gunboat referred to is a quite small steamship of very little speed that mounted a gun designed to attack shore positions. It was also used as a minesweeper - quite unsuccessfully in both cases - as should have been expected.

Gallipoli is a peninsula of Turkey that Britain (plus Australia and New Zealand)  attacked in World War 1 in an attempt to end the war quickly. It turned out to be one of the greatest disasters in British military history, with 50,000 Empire troops killed and many times that wounded for no gain whatever.

It was a remarkably dumb idea. It was Churchill's idea. It's too bad the site doesn't go into that.

Churchill grew up in the shadow of his brilliant military ancestor, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. In a lonely childhood with a father who only once spoke to him, he became convinced that he, too, had a brilliant military mind. Combined with that, he had a crashing arrogance, and a contempt for anybody who didn't recognize his military skills.

After the dreadful failure of Gallipoli, Churchill left the War Council of the government (to everyone's relief) to go to the battle lines in France. He was not pleased that he was sent only as a colonel. He thought he should have been made a general.  In France, he proved to be a man of almost suicidal courage, and was much admired by his troops. That courage would become the outstanding feature of his character.

But a great military mind? No.

Churchill is often praised for his wish to go to war with Hitler when the latter invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938 - and Prime Minister Chamberlain became an object of contempt for not stopping Hitler. In fact, Chamberlain was right and Churchill was wrong. France was not willing to go to war in 1938 and, even with France, going to war would have been insane since neither Britain nor France was prepared for war. They still weren't prepared in 1939 when Chamberlain did declare war in 1939. That was proven in the dreadful retreat to Dunkirk.

A British historian recently published a book on the forty greatest military disasters in British history. One of the forty was Galliipoli in WW1, and Dunkirk and Singapore were two more in World War 2. Churchill was closely involved n all of them. One could also add that by mid-1940, Churchill had lost World War Two. He knew it; and was trying to negotiate surrender terms through Mussolini to Hitler. (Italy would not enter the war until June of 1940). It is still not generally realized what a close-run thing World War Two was.

British military leadership was well aware of Churchill's faults. Throughout the war, it made sure to keep its most brilliant strategist in Britain. Viscount Alanbrooke stayed in Britain as Chief of the Imperial General Staff because he was such a good strategist - and because he was the only one who could keep a lid on Churchill's delusions about his generalship.


1 comment:

  1. Sorry. A correction. I said a British historian had made study of 40 of Britain's worst military disasters. In fact, the list is twenty, going back through 2,000 years of history. And Churchill was deeply involved in three of them - Gallipoli, the 1939 declaration of war that led to Dunkirk, and the fall of Singapore - which forever destroyed British power in Asia.

    I also made an error on the death toll at Gallipoli. It was "only" about 46,000 for the allies, plus some 90,000 wounded. About a third of those who survived would never be fit for service again.

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