Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dec. 31: "Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow"

"Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time;"

The lines above are proof that William Shakespeare must have read the Irving press  every day. That is probably why he became aware of creeping in this petty pace.

The editorial advises us to "..reflect on 2014'. But the reflection is pretty narrow, strictly local, stuff. The whole thing is  really just staring at the editor's unattractive belly button. Its closing advice is to start a new slate to find solutions to issues.  How's that for thoughtful and precise advice?

And we all know that if anybody came up for a new slate that had solutions, Mr. Irving would be displeased, and his paper would rip the intruder to shreds. But let's risk it. Let's come up with a new solution to a big problem. We have a newspaper that lies to us, that spreads propaganda for its owner, that praises a phony think tank at U de Moncton, and has a thoroughly incompetent editorial board. That control by manipulation, lying and propaganda is the major factor in holding this province back.  So, how about we fix that? I didn't think so. Mr. Irving doesn't want that fixed.

Norbert, too, stares down at his own bellybutton. It's another unattractive belly button, and one, like the editorial, with nothing worth talking about.

And Alec Bruce steps well over the line as a shill for shale gas. This time, he says it is perfectly safe, and has never polluted the air,  or damaged the atmosphere or the water supply.  Alec, you are not telling the truth - and this time you must know it.

You are too intelligent to rely on the Irving press for your news. So you must have read about the recent shale gas report from New York. This was based on studies from leading experts on things like shale gas. They say it causes respiratory problems. (That means it does pollute the air.) They say it does damage water tables, and probably worse than we yet realize. They say it releases huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere - which is a big factor in climate change. (That's added to billions of tons of methane already being soaked up by the atmosphere as Arctic ice melts,) Then  you have the problem that a development of shale gas means committing ourselves for very many years to burning the fossil fuels that will destroy us.

As for jobs it will produce, big business does not exist to create jobs or to spread wealth. It exists to make wealth for itself, and to  hell with what happens to everybody else. You've read about the wage spread, Alec. You know what that means.

And if you think that's okay, then you don't even understand what the word capitalism is supposed to mean - and why real capitalism, at the corporation level, ceased to exist long, long ago.

You might also listen to CBC News. (The TandT has been too busy telling us what happened last year to tell us any important, current news.)  The dikes at Tantramar are being built up now - before rising water levels can lead to serous flooding. You know - Arctic ice melting. climate changing, sea level rising....

And they aren't being built up by environmental nutbars. It's being done by governments.

Oh, I know. I know. It can't possibly be true. Gosh, big oil has spent billions over the years to tell us climate change isn't happening. (God bless them for being so generous and so caring for our welfare.)  But it is happening,;and military studies suggest it could be having profoundly disturbing and damaging effects in as little as fifteen years.

Of, course, we can always just relax, read the Irving press  (  ---go to sleep, my baby.....)

Eric Lewis contributes a column on how the Meung family of Moncton will be allowed to stay in Canada.  Too bad he has nothing to say except what was in the news pages just yesterday. And neither the news nor Lewis even noticed what the real story is - the disgraceful handling of immigrants and refugees by the Harper government.

Brian Cormier contributes yet another column of idle chatter.

And Section B2 (NewsToday) has yet another whole page of one-liners about what happened last year. Then, B4 has almost half a page on "Plunge in crude prices named year's top business story". Who bloody cares what it gets named?  And why aren't we getting news on WHY the prices are plunging?.

The only item worth reading in this whole paper is one on B5. "IMF policies hindered Ebola response..."
The International Monetary Fund (a Santa Claus for big business and big bankers) is accused of setting loan terms that give priority to cutting social spending, and making sure the big bankers get all their money back - with interest. That has a good deal to do with the Ukraine crisis. That's why the Ukraine government is now run largely by the IMF. As Ukraine descends into chaos and suffering, the IMF wants to make sure international bankers squeeze every penny they can out of that country before Ukraine goes flat broke.

In the case of Ebola, the IMF discourages borrowing for social programmes so that as much spending as possible goes to private business. Result? Thousands have died because Sierra Leone was hopelessly ill equipped to deal with a medical crisis.

But there is a good side. The IMF was able to help international bankers feel their money was safe.

Has there really been no news at all for the last week or so? Actually, there were some little items.

For example, the UN security council rejected Palestine's bid to be recognized as a nation. Well, actually, Palestine won the vote with eight of fifteen council members voting for Palestine. But, under the rules, Palestine needed to win by two votes - and the abstentions by five members left it short by one.

What now? Well, for a start, this probably marks the end of negotiations Obviously, Israel intends to keep Palestine its prisoner for ever. And it probably intends to expel the Palestinans in the not to distant future, and to take over all their land.

For the time being, Palestine will give the world one, last chance to make Israel back off. It will apply for membership on the UN justice committee in order to lay charges against Israel for war crimes. What might happen after that is anybody's guess. But peace is definitely off the table.

Meanwhile, Russia's Putin - you know, the evil one - is trying to set up peace talks in Syria. This is about a civil war that isn't really a civil war. The US and Saudi Arabia set it up because the government of Syria wasn't doing everything the US told it to. In order to get rebels, they had to hire mercenaries from among the same people the US calls terrorists which it isn't paying them to fight its wars for it.

The most recent count is over a hundred and sixty thousand dead. But that's not reliable because it's the figure given by the Syrian Observatory for human rights (which is actually a "rebel" propaganda outfit run by a haberdasher in England - but the North American press pretends it really is a legitimate organization.

Several press reports also refer to anybody speaking for the "rebels' - large numbers  of whom really aren't rebels because they aren't Syrians- anyway, our press refers to such a source as coming from 'militants' which is a nicer  way of saying 'rebels' - which is a nicer way of saying 'terrorists' - which is what we call them when they're fighting us.) I hope that clears it all up.

Anyway, the evil Putin is trying to work out a ceasefire because that's what evil people do. He has a motive, of course. He wants to extend Russia's trade to Syria. That's what started this civil war in the first place because the U.S. wanted to control Syrian trade. It still does. So the 'rebels'  have their orders not to attend any peace talks.

So, a lot of people are dead. Far more are wounded, starving, millions are refugees; almost all have had their lives ruined. And the chaos through most of Africa and the Middle East will go on for a century and more. Western interference for a whole century has destroyed almost all the traditional structures of the region. Anyone who thinks a society can just bounce back from that should take a look at the racial crisis in the U.S. And if any Canadian feels smug about that, he or she might consider the damage Canada has done for centuries to its native peoples who can no longer live as they used to because we destroyed their traditional societies. But a society takes thousands of years to build - and you can't just patch it up and become a new one.

In Syria, as in much of Africa and the Milddle East, families have been destroyed. So have social structures. And economic structures. Millions of children can't go to school. How can they with drones firing rockets at them, guerrilla fighters that have risen out of the chaos to rape and murder them. Millions are orphaned, crippled, starving....  And Canada, especially through its mining companies, has been a major force in destroying societies. As history has shown often enough, repairing that damage takes centuries - and often cannot be done at all.

Notice how the Irving press editorials talk mostly about money, and how to spend it or not spend it? Most of our world leaders are like that. Their only concern is making money -and that way lies disaster.Making money for a handful of billionaires is what has created disaster in much of the world. You cannot start with thinking about  money.

The first consideration has to be people - what they need, what they must have to survive. Yes, we need money. But to think money first, and to let making money become the major force in the world is a guarantee of disaster. We need to start with people. What do people, all people, need to survive, to feel comfortable, to be free, really free, in this world? What does it mean to love one's neighbour? And what will happen if we

"And all our yesterday have have lighted fools
The way to dusty death."

(with thanks to Shakespeare)

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