Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nov. 30: Patriotism and the rush to kill...

One of the things you learn in studying history is how many lies there are that we believe are truths. One of them is that going to war is good and patriotic-----but only when it happens on our side. Anybody on the other side who shoots back at us is evil, and quite possibly insane.

For generations, British children (and Canadians) were taught that the building of the British Empire was something to be proud of, to feel patriotic pride about.  Why? Well, it showed that the British were a more highly developed "race" than the peoples they conquered. The soldiers and sailors who did the fighting were "splendid chaps, splendid" while they were killing. When they weren't, they were the scum of the earth -drunken, poverty stricken, and dropped on the streets by our gracious kings and queens once the killing was over.

Hailed as patriots while fighting,  they were abandoned once the very wealthy of Britain no longer needed them to loot a nation of 'racially inferior' peoples. For centuries, country after country fell to British armies who killed, raped, and pillaged whenever they could. Then the "better sort" of British moved in to exploit the conquered people for cheap labour. and to take the resources. Oh, and missionaries moved in to - well - depending on your point of view - to civilize the conquered, or perhaps to make them more submissive.

What children were taught was not history. It was glory, glory, glory, and it was patriotism.

Long ago, I was shocked when an American friend mentioned the War of 1812 as the Second American War of Independence. It's often still taught that way in the US. Let's see. Americans wanted freedom, equality, etc. So they invaded Canada?

Of course. Read any American school history text. The US has been fighting wars against Native Peoples to take their land, against Latin Americans to take chunks of their land (as in the Mexican-American War), and to exploit resources and cheap labour, spread to the Pacific in The Phillipines, and now over most of the world in wars that have been continuous since 1776. They have done it for exactly the same greedy reasons the British did, and with the same murderous style. But you won't often see that in the history books of the movies. Americans, like British, are taught to believe in myths so they'll be patriotic.

Canada has not been different - smaller scale, but not different.

Germans were taught that way, too. That's why Hitler found them such a willing audience. Patriotism encourages us to see ourselves as superior to others - and therefore makes it quite acceptable for us to murder inferior peoples or to enslave them or, even better, to work them to death at a dollar or two a day to make our own billionaires even richer. Patriotism in Germany justified the murders of millions of Jews, Romas, gays...in World War Two.  It was used to justify the Canadian killing and displacing of native peoples. It  has also been used in Canada to justify our dreadful treatment of Japanese, Ukrainians, Jews, blacks.... And we're watching that same kind of patriotism rapidly growing in Europe today, as western nations react against the refugees they created.

"Patriotism" sounds like a "good thing".  Sometimes it is. There are people who do want to make Canada a better country - not just for billionaires, not just for white folks, for all of us.

But even those can fall into the trap of thinking that what's good for Canada - or for their part of it - is to preserve the Canadian culture. And this is even sillier than racism. There may be such a thing as a Canadian culture -  but I have never even heard of anyone saying exactly what that culture is. Do you eat when you're hungry? Well, so do people of every culture all over the world. Do you like soccer? So do North Koreans and Chileans.

Even if culture could be defined, it wouldn't help - because culture is the way we react to the world around us. And the world around us is constantly changing. So our culture changes to match it. We do not have the same culture as our grandparents - or even our parents.

Patriotism and culture sound good. But nobody really knows what they mean - except that they sound like good things to be. In reality, they come close the the ugly word, 'racism'. And they can be used - and are used - by our news media and their bosses to give a nice meaning to the fears and hatreds nurtured by the racism that we have more of than we like to admit.  Then they can aim our fears and hatreds at something that will make our wealthy even wealthier.

That's why Americans could inflict horrors on Vietnamese and Iraqis, and not see any contradiction with their supposed religious values.

And why did we send soldiers to die in Afghanistan? How did that show patriotism? How does it show patriotism to bomb ISIL in Iraq?

No. Patriotism is nothing more than a propaganda tool to turn off our brains, to see goodness where the purpose is really evil, and to give us a nice word for the evil so that we don't see how it is against our own basic values.
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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Nov. 29:We'll deal with the Friday edition quickly...

...because there's, as usual, nothing much in it.

Section A, page 1 headlines the news there was a snowstorm Thursday. Gee. Who would have guessed?  But they proved it. They had a picture of somebody standing in the snow (presumably for all those who missed seeing a person standing in the snow on Thursday. Page 2 has a big news story (advertisement) about Riverview having big sales. And so it goes.

The good news is on the editorial and op ed pages. The editorial (on abortion) is well done. Alec Bruce does a solid job on the need for child care programmes. David Suzuki has a horrifying story about the condition of drinking water on some First Nations reserves. He might want to extend that with a look at the spread of industrial pollution to our lakes and streams.

Dale Hobson had nothing to say, so he tells us that Moncton always clears the roads with snowplows.
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NewsToday tells us our Governor-General is visiting Columbia and Chile, mostly because Canadian mining companies are very active there, and he wants to remind them that they have to maintain a high standard of corporate responsibility - what the GG calls the "Canada brand". He adds that Canadian companies are leaders in corporate social responsibility. They pretty well set the world standard for behaviour - especially in mining.

At this point, a reporter of normal intelligence might ask, "If we're world leaders in corporate social responsibility, and we set the world standard for behaviour, why is the governor-general making a special trip to Latin America?"  I mean, if we lead the world (and we are a huge player in mining all over the world), I should think the mining people would already know that. In any case, the big decisions on issues like social responsibility are made made in Canada. So why is the GG going to Chile?

Damned if I know.

What I do know is the the idea that Canadian mining companies have a high standard (or even a low one) for social responsibility is pure bunk. Like most large corporations,they have no sense of social responsibility whatever. Especially in poorer countries, they pay the lowest salaries possible, offer no benefits and are highly destructive of the environment. They are also ruthless in dealing with any locals who criticize their appalling levels of pollution.  That's what led to the massacres of civilians in Guatemala. That's why they like operating in places like Latin America and Africa where sweetheart free trade deals, backed up by the military, make stockholders rich while the locals die of malnutrition and lack of medical care.

On the same page, the Canadian government is patting itself on the back for deciding to send some 40 medical workers to help out with Ebola. Alert readers will notice this is coming a year late; but government spokesmen countered that with the story that we could not send any until we were sure we had a quick way to get them out.

Du-u-u-h, yeah. I can see where that  would be something it would take a year to figure out. But at least someone asked. Alas! Nobody asked another obvious question.

How come big, rich Canada which doesn't suffer any trade sanctions imposed by the US is acting so late AND sending so few. Tiny, poor Cuba, which does suffer trade sanctions. sent almost 200 health workers from the start.

And that sums up the news. As always, the news section gives us little sense of what is important or what is trivial. It doesn't  As both the mining and the Ebola story show us, they don't give us much context for the story - so we really can't tell what is significant or what it's really all about.
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Saturday's paper (on A 1) tells us the City of Moncton will be cutting 19 positions because it just doesn't have enough money - due to the decrease in the rate of property tax growth. But don't panic. I'm sure they'll still find enough to build a 100 plus million dollar hockey rink. And, you know, first things first.

It did not occur to reporter Brent Mazerolle to ask any questions about this. Nor, I guess, did it occur to his assignment editor that the cutting of 19 positions is not the big story, here.

Whenever this paper reports on any government action, it almost invariably sees it as simply a financial issue. But it's only partly financial.

The first function of any government is to create a list of things that are needed for the society. Then it sets priorities. Then it looks at the money, and makes the decisions. But before we make decisions, we need to know exactly what is needed and what the priorities are. I have yet to see that in the Irving press. Or in city hall.

Why are we continuing to encourage urban sprawl when that age is obviously coming to an end? What stage are we at in planing public transit in a world in which the automobile seems to have a limited future? How is climate change likely to affect Moncton, and what plans do we have to deal with the change? There has been some discussion of this in Bill Belliveau's weekly column - but no evidence anybody in government is reading it.

There is also a troubling story on p. 1 about school cafeterias violating health codes. This does not seem to be a problem caused by the schools. It seems to be caused by lax inspectors. We need a much fuller story on this one.

This Saturday's editorial and op ed pages are the best I  have ever seen in this paper.There isn't a weak column in the bunch.

Gwynne Dyer's stands out in terms of its importance. He points out that the so-called "war on terrorism" has been a stunningly expensive one - and a losing one. Our interventions don't stop terrorism; they encourage it.
I'll come back to this at the end.

But everything on these two pages is worth a read.
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NewsToday is a stinker. We now have a second story on the firing of the CEO of the francophone health sector. And, like the first one, it doesn't tell us anything.

The biggest story in the paper is on B5, "Concerns raised about U.S. torture record". The U.S. tortures people, foreigners and Americans, on a scale that Hitler could only have envied. A UN panel put it gently when it said the U.S. was "falling short of full compliance" with an international anti-torture treaty.

If this were a story critical of Russians or Muslims, it would have taken up a full page, at least. But it's about the U.S. as not only a torturer all over the world, but in U.S. prisons, in the jailing of illegal migrants   )including children), in the heavy use of solitary confinement, in the tidal wave of police brutality in the U.S., especially against blacks and Latinos. (Canada, by the way, also imprisons large numbers of immigrants.)

In fact, the U.S has become as brutal, as hysterical, and as hating as any nation in history. But, what the hell, it's directed at people inferior to us by reason of religion or skin colour. So who cares?

That's why this important story is so small, it would easily fit onto a Christmas card. The reality is we don't care so long as we are white, and Christian or Jewish. Let's not kid ourselves. We are racists. And in the U.S. and Europe, at least, it's going to get worse.

Why are we fighting ISIL? Because it's murderous?  ISIL has a long way to go before it can come close to the west for mass murder. Western countries are fighting ISIL for the same reason some of them have fought China, India, native peoples of the Americas, Africans in the past - because it gives big business the power to make money out of those countries.

But their bought politicians can't say that. Instead, they whip us into a frenzy based largely on that racism that lurks in us. And the job of the private news media is to spread that hatred and fear to us.
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There are always good columns on the student-columnist pages. Today, it was Isabelle Agnew's column that hit me between the eyes.

On C14, she talks about how she's doing well in university - but how she was on a downhill slide starting in grade 10. It was caused by a profound depression. But she eventually overcame it to do well in university.

As I read, I realized I was reading about myself. In elementary school, I was a hotshot. But, oh, starting with grade nine, I was a walking disaster. By grade ten, I was skipping a lot of school, and flunked the year. I passed grade 10 the second time, but was soon hopelessly failing grade 11. That's when the principal called me down, "Let's face it, Decarie, you have no brains at all. It's time to go find a job."

I plugged through a BA, mostly at night, but with horrible grades. But then I recovered to get straight As in an additional BA year and an MA - and on from there. But until I read ms. Agnew's column, I had no idea the problem might have been depression. (In the world I grew up in, there was no money. So we weren't allowed to be sick. And so we weren't sick. And a mental sickness? No way were we allowed to have that. So we didn't. I thought.)

Until I read this column, I never realized this. I had put it down to being a working class kid, never expecting to go to a university, and never expecting to be anything but unskilled labour. And that was part of it - and perhaps also part of the depression.

Thank you, Isabelle.


Then, annus mirabilis, I found a sermonette, one worth reading, on the Faith Page, C6. And it was doubly nice to see a sermonette that wasn't just a string of platitudes. (It's on much the same topic as Isabelle Agnew's column.) This is really good stuff and good writing.

Sadly, the church announcements are for yard sales, silent auctions. breakfasts.....leave your brains at home.
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I was going to write on two more topics - the greedy and insanely dangerous road to World War Three that the U.S. is following, with Harper tagging on, and some hard words for people who think it's good to be patriotic.  But this is already too long. So I'll do those two tomorrow.






Thursday, November 27, 2014

Nov. 27: The news and other bunk....

We'll start with the news.

A big story on A1 for Wednesday tells you all you need to know about the TandT. "Pup has dramatic recovery after being found abandoned".  And, sure enough, there's a huge photo of  a recovered puppy, with another photo inside. I can imagine the scene in the newsroom now. An editor calls for ace reporter Brent Mazerolle.

"Mazerolle, get on on your horse. We have a fast-breaking story. It's about a puppy. Front page stuff. Bring a photographer. Get all the facts."

An excited Brent Mazerolle rushes home, and opens his secret closet. What to wear? The  Superman suit? Too casual. The Batman suit? Too fussy. Ah! He sees a flash of pink. Perfect. He'll cover this one as -
Miley Cyrus Man.

And that pretty well sets the tone for Wednesday's Section A.

The editorial looks at the problems of daycare, and of emergency shelters for women and children. It's solution? Private business of course. And, in the case of children, a parents could just leave them with a trustworthy parent. And how would the parents know the neighbour is trustworthy? Well, they'd just know. And would the parent have any training is operating day care? Well, no. But, you know, they'd just know.

According to the editorial this is a low cost solution. Yeah, like private medical care in the US is a low cost solution. Private business solutions are almost never low cost.

The editorial also uses the word bureaucrat to scare us. Irving press editors always use it as a dirty word meaning inefficiency and lack of caring. That's partly because they don't understand what "bureaucrat" means - and they don't know that government bureaucracy was so effective in developing Canadian prosperity in the 1940s and 50s, that private business sent its senior executives to Ottawa to observe their methods - and to learn.

Alec Bruce has an odd column. He admits at length that fracking can be disastrous - using North Dakota as a horrible example. Then, toward the end, he says that this couldn't happen here because we have a strong, involved central government.  No. (Sorry. Change the period after "No" to !!!!!!!!!!)

In fact, we have a tradition in New Brunswick that governments are under the thumb of big business. Alec should know that. He writes under the thumb of big business. What's more,  he says, New Brunswick has a record of strong regulation of shale gas. Like hell, it has! We've had government that set up phony committees, often of unqualified and lying people, and a newspaper that has consistently lied to us. And so far, I've seen no reason to believe that Gallant is different.
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NewsToday is - as usual. You can get more news, free, every day just be looking at google news. One story, though, raises lots of questions.

The federal auditor's report which has, so far, been highly critical of government spending and record-keeping, has come down hard on the bailouts we have given over the years to the auto industry. There is no clear record of what was spent, how it was spent,what it was for, what it was used for, or even of whether we got any return on that money at all. He could go further.

We are not told how much our governments give to big business, how much the very rich are hiding away in this age of the wage gap, how much they pay to political parties.... No wonder the very rich have such contempt for us suckers.

(The auditor story is on B1).

However, as a sign of alertness, (B5), "First nations told to follow financial rules." Damn right. Who do those native peoples think they are? Entrepreneurs?

By the way, the word entrepreneur means someone who invests money - and risks losing it. Big companies don't do that very much. They suck money, through government, out of us. And if they lose it, they expect us to give them more.

Small business people are entrepreneurs. If your small store goes broke, tough luck. Big business people usually are not entrepreneurs. They're more like bloodsuckers. So why does the Irving press use the word 'entrepreneur' for both groups? It's mug's game - to convince small business that it's in the same boat with big business.


World news is pretty much a blank.
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Thursday's front page has a story that actually is a story. Premier Gallant intends to make it easier for women to get abortions in New Brunswick. This is closest I've seen to any real action by him. However, watch for a difficult ride in the legislature. Watch, too, for all the self-righteous anti-abortionists with signs. You know, the ones who have no objection whatever to the mass murder of men, women, and children all over the world. (The call it patriotism. So it's different.)

The only other item of interest is the return of a full-page ad from Transcanada pipeline for Energy East. It's the usual, heavy on blue, an attractive and young, blonde woman, who just happens to be a pipefitter. (She seems to be wearing a rather fancy dress for the job.)

Actually, we'll be seeing fewer of these. Check out B7 for the story "Transcanada cuts ties with U.S. public relations firm......" It was actually revealed a few days ago when the PR firm's advertising campaign strategy was leaked to Greenpeace. It planned to set up bogus groups to attack the statements of environmentalists. The idea was to make it seem as these were just , you know, folks, who were putting new ideas on the table for open discussion. The reality was it would be a strategy "with strong heritage in the more aggressive policy and political fights of  the U.S."---in order to secretly use bogus groups to add "layers of difficulty" for those opposed to the pipeline.

Transcanada, once the story broke, oh, it really, really just wanted to have open and honest discussion, and could not possibly support such a scheme. Sure. They signed a huge deal with the biggest PR firm in the world; but they never even saw what the plan was. I also believe that a baby is born whenever a fairy burps.

Edelman, the PR firm, said the tactic was ethical. Come off it. The word 'ethics' does not exist in the PR world.

There's an important story on B8. Gun sales in the US are expected to go wild on Black Friday - and the system that's supposed to be checking buyers to see if they are allowed to have guns isn't working. As a result there are nine guns for every ten people in the US  (counting children and babies). A person is shot and killed every 16 minutes. Mass murders happen every three weeks or so. This is the country which thinks that God wants it to govern the world.
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There were, believe it or not, some major stories that didn't make the Irving press. Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, with his cabinet, has prepared a bill to make Israel a Jewish state with laws based on Jewish law. So, non-Jewish Israelis would not have rights. (Gee. Just like ISIL).

The president of Israel is much opposed because the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948 said it would be based on social and political equality for all its citizens regardless of race and gender. Now, it will be a theocratic state based on a racist concept of religious principals which excludes any possible equality.

Also missing was the story that the US is planning war games it will carry out in the near future - in Ukraine.
What a wonderful move to bring peace. Can you imagine the reaction if Russia planned war games to be held in Cuba?

Get used to it. Obama wants a war with Russia. Greed, stupidity, and maybe insanity rule.

Oh, and a Conservative MP advises all MPs to wear body cameras to guard against allegations of assault from .....well, usually from women (though he doesn't say so.) Let's see, now, in a house of commons ablaze in sexual harassment charges from women against men, an MP thinks the most important thing to do is to protect the men.....
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The bunk I mentioned in my intro is not in the Irving press. It's a book review that appears in the December issue of Literary Review of Canada. The book is called "Canada in the Great War Game, 1914-2014". It's by Gwynne Dyer - the one who writes a column every weeks or so for the Times and Transcript. (I haven't read the book yet because Moncton  is not the hub city for new books.) However, I get a general idea of it from the review - and it sounds to me as though Dyer is dead on.

In all the wars of this century - and despite the fine speeches on Nov. 11 - Canada lost over a hundred thousand killed in wars that had nothing to do with Canada, and nothing to do with democracy or freedom or protecting the homeland. An invasion of Canada was neither threatened nor possible in any of those wars. We have been used by Britain and, now, by the US to fight wars that have nothing to do with us. And we're about to do it again.

We do those who died no favour when we perpetuate the lies, and urge others to give their lives, too, in favour of the current lies.

The reviewer doesn't like Dyer's book. Well, that's fair ball. Reviewers don't have to like the books they review. But, if it's about Canadian history, they do need to know something about Canadian history. The reviewer, Michael Cotey Morgan of the U of North Carolina  (for pete's sake)  seems to have only a shaky grasp of Canadian history - and his teaching field is not Canadian history at all).

For example, he says that our sixty thousand dead of World War 1 is what won Canada the right to go to war based on its own decision. Cotey, it's not that simple. In fact, it wasn't even like that.

In the first place, Canada never said in World War 1 that it was going to war for any such reason. In the second place, Canada had to demand the right to declare war on its own in order to keep Canada united after the conscription crisis of 1917. It had nothing to do with Canada's "proud march to independence". In the third place, Britain had to accept the demand because the war had (forever as it turned out) , destroyed Britain's ability to enforce such demands. In the fourth place, Canada was NEVER required to take part in any war in the first place unless Canada was attacked itself. Colonies in the British Empire were, technically, at war when Britain was. But they were not required to participate in any way. The only war that Canada ever fought because it was required to do so by imperial practice, was the War of 1812 - and it was required only because the United States attacked Canada itself. In the Boer War and World War 1, we were not required to send troops. Parliament could well have said no - just as the independent US did for several years in WW1 and WW2. A person who poses as an authority on Canada at war should know that.

The change that came between wars, the right for Canada to declare war entirely on its own made no practical difference at all. And it was certainly not, as the reviewer claims, worth 60,000 killed.

The review is full of errors like that and full of bias. Why on earth would an obscure historian with thin credentials in Canadian history be asked to write a review on this subject? Canada has plenty of military historians of far better credentials. It's true that many of them spend too much time in bed with our military. But it is surely possible to find an unbiased one.

The reality is that Gwynne Dyer is quite right. We have been used to fight British wars and, now, American ones - and usually in the interest of big business in those countries -and usually in the interest of  Canadian big business, too.

That reminds me of a few paragraphs I should write about the idea of patriotism, and what it really means. But that's another day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Nov. 25: It's a mad, mad, mad,mad world....

----an example of the madness is a story the editors of the Irving press missed. Just days ago, a UN committee put forward a proposal from Russia that the UN should condemn racism-driven crimes. Specifically, it mentioned Nazism - not surprisingly, since Nazi movements are enjoying a revival in Europe.

The proposal came from the Russians; and I first read of it in an English language newspaper  from Russia. It's called RT.  That made me suspicious, so I checked several respectable newspapers from Britain. They confirmed it.

The majority of delegates abstained - which is quite common in such votes. One hundred and fifty five delegates supported it. Three voted against it - The United States, Ukraine, and ----hold your applause--- Canada.

I'm so proud of our government.

Why did these three vote as they did? The only indication of that came from the Ukrainian delegate. He said Ukraine couldn't vote for the proposal because it didn't include the evils of Stalinism. And I suppose there are fools who will believe that.

But there is no reason to include Stalinism. He was certainly as brutal and murderous as they come. But his brutality was never based on racism - which is what the proposal was about. Stalin was an equal opportunity murderer, killing mostly his own people. Perhaps a more reasonable complaint would be it made no mention of the European and American empires which were "justified" by racism. All of them have believed they had a right to murder, brutalize, exploit, impoverish even more people than Stalin did - and that they had the right because they were racially superior.

But the reason for the proposal is that Nazism is on the rise. The European empires are not. And the reason for the US, Ukraine and Canada voting against it? Well, that might have something to do with the fact that Ukraine happily joined Hitler in killing Jews in World War 2, the fact that the Nazi party is alive and healthy in Ukraine - and that Nazis are prominent in the Kyiv government.

Doesn't it make you proud to know that the Canadian representative had the courage to raise his hand, and say, "Nein".
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For Monday's issue, Section A had nothing except that silly and possibly unethical ad that appears every day on A2, the one made to look like a news story with a headline, and the picture and name of the "reporter".
But it's really an ad to sell newspapers. My sympathy goes to the reporter who, presumably went to journalism school to learn how to be a reporter - and now finds himself stuck writing ads.

The editorial is an ad, too - for shale gas.

Norbert attacks professors for being inarticulate - which, he says, is closely related to illiteracy. His evidence? One paragraph from one professor. On the basis of that he speculates that the prime achievement of university education has been to produce a more literate mob of ignoramuses.

He also says schools and universities don't teach people to think. I can agree with that. Public schools don't do it because the Norberts of this world would scream at the schools for not teaching the children to think as Norberts does (which means calling people names.) Universities often don't do it because professors usually have no training in teaching, and have no idea how to teach thinking.

Norbert, you don't think. You just call people names - and you call professors across Canada inarticulate because you heard one (1) who you thought was.

Norbert, this inarticulate, non-thinking professor would just love to debate you in public.

Also in the Monday edition, Alec Bruce crashed in flames. It was an attack belittling people who oppose a pipeline and/or shale gas. You can find the same, sneering tone in the editorial which says opponents of the pipeline just don't want anybody  to get anything good.

Alec - a quiz.
1. Is there such a thing as climate change?  (yes? no? Maybe?)
2. Is it possible that climate change could eradicate human (and animal) life on this planet?
3. Have the majority of leading scientists and the UN agreed that the above is the case?
4. Has the oil industry, for many years, sponsored think tanks and ads, spending billions to convince us that "nothin' ain't happenin'?"
5. Is there general agreement that climate change is caused by the use of fossil fuels?
6. Have we been warned that we are approaching the point of no return? and that it's probably soon?
7. Would you say that the oil industry has played a leading role in finding alternative forms of energy?
8. Is  you employer a person who makes a great deal of money out of fossil fuels?
9. Are you aware of any long term plan by any Canadian government to deal with this?
10. Would a pipeline be used to transport oil to somewhere so it could be sold for burning?
11. And would that burning add to the danger we face?

Some years ago, I stood in the Colosseum in Rome. From it, I could see parts of the old, city wall. On the day that barbarians attacked that wall, the people of Rome were jammed into the Colosseum to watch with fascination as gladiators killed each other, and humans were eaten by lions. They stayed there, spellbound by the bloodshed, even though they could hear the screams of the defenders at the wall as the barbarians overran them, and spread through the city to kill and loot.

A  pipeline is not a harmless or a short term project It's a long term investment which is intended to keep pumping greenhouse gasses into the sky way past the point of no return. Our barbarians are the oil moguls.

Now, we can either hide ourselves in our pale equivalent of gladiators and lions that we call the Irving press or - as you say, "Let the protests commence."
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In NewsToday, on B1, that Canadian Council of CEOs is very upset that Ottawa is speaking of cracking down on firms here and abroad which have been convicted of bribery and extortion. It would bar them from getting federal contracts.

My goodness gracious, say the CEOs, Why - if commercial firms can't cheat and extort, that would hurt the Canadian economy. Yeah. I'll just bet it would. Even worse, it would hurt many of the members of the Canadian Council of CEOs.
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Stephen Harper, our closet warrior, and the man who was babbling just a few weeks ago about how grateful we are to those who died to protect us from Afghanistan has announced a 200 million dollar grant to assist veterans who suffered mental health problems from that war.  (Well, the Legion has been giving him hell for his neglect - and he does have an election coming up.) Too bad it comes too late to help the many who were simply dumped from the army by Harper, and left with nothing but lives that are, by now, destroyed
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Tuesday's paper had a front page story that premier Gallant is impressed with Ontario's approach to pipeline safety. According to Gallant, "She says that they (the controls) are not conditions. They are principles that have to be adhered to for the Ontario gov't to give the OK,"

What the hell does that mean? How is a principle that has to be adhered to different from a condition? The Ontario premier is obviously talking gobbledegook - and a lawyer should know that. He said, "She also says they made it very clear that their starting point is that this project is very important and can be beneficial."
Well, with that kind of a starting point, I see why she had to resort to gobbledegook.

B2 has another gem from David Gauvin, "Go into the woods with Times-Transcript.com"  I immediately thought of my childhood when we couldn't afford toilet paper; so we tore up newspapers. I'm not sure, though, how one would do that in the woods with a .com version of the paper.

There's also a banner headline on B1 about how the events centre  (hockey rink) is going ahead. I mean, this is so important because it will make Moncton rich. I think it's so generous of the wealthy owner of the hockey team not to build it himself but to let us common people pay for it, and take all the profit. There's another Hall of Fame entry for sure.
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The editorial doesn't want dress codes for schools. It wants uniforms. I'm not sure I'd support that. It could be tough on poorer kids, especially the boys. A dress code would mean more judgement calls. But I've seen it work, and it's less conformist than a uniform.

To my dismay, I found Gwynne Dyer disappointing again. He calls the Ukraine crisis something that was nobody's fault, but just stumbled into. It don't think that's true. Then he goes on to lay blame on Russia when there is much evidence (which he doesn't mention) to the contrary.

1. The riots that overthrew the pro-Russian Kyiv government were not spontaneous. A senior member of the White House staff told a Congressional committee that she had been supplied with very large sums of money and with agents to provoke such a rising. And when the rioters chased out the government and installed their own, Obama immediately recognized the new government as a legal one - though international law says the opposite.
2. At no point in this crisis has Obama shown the slightest interest in a peaceful resolution. Quite the contrary, he was made it clear he wants war. For a start, there is the The American Century document for world domination on the web.  World.  Russia and China are part of the world. They are included in the plan for world domination.
When the Malaysian airliner was shot down, the White House immediately announced it was shot down by pro-Russian rebels. At that point, he had no direct and/or skilled evidence for any such statement. And all this time after, he still doesn't. The experts studying the wreckage themselves still don't know who did it. But Obama has consistently blamed Russia.
Is Russia  helping the pro-Russians in East Ukraine? Of course. These are Russian-speaking people who have always been hated by West Ukraine simply because they speak Russian. Their chances of living if Kyiv troops break past their resistance are very, very poor. Putin would be crucified in Russia if he didn't help them. I'm sure that Russia is supplying them with weapons (for the same reason) just as I'm sure the US is supplying Kyiv. Are their Russian troops in Ukraine? I have no idea. Obama repeatedly says there are. But Obama's record of telling the truth is not a long one.

The US would never tolerate a hostile government to exist anywhere near it. Check Cuba. When it kicked out the dictators the US had imposed on it, the US sponsored an invasion, laid bombs in resort hotels, blew up a Cuban, civilian airliner - and almost fought a nuclear war with Russia.

We can argue over details. But the broad picture is very clear. Obama (well, American big business) wants a war with Russia. It probably cannot be a conventional war because the US already tied down too much - and because the American record for conventional war has not been brilliant for the last sixty years.

However, the US has lots of nuclear weapons on Russia's doorstep. Russia has none anywhere close to the US. (The nuclear fallout would affect all of us. But what the hell.....any society that thinks climate change isn't happening isn't going to worry about nuclear fallout.)

Louise Gilbert has a very good column about how seniors are often at an age when their skills and understanding are at their best. I think she's right. As I think back over my own life, going from working class boy to elementary school teacher opened a whole new world for me - and that took a lot of getting used to.  Moving on to teaching university was even more difficult as I had to learn to cope with a world in which pomposity, arrogance, unmerited self-confidence (and ignorance of teaching) were common. I'd love to start again, knowing what I know now.  ms. Gilbert's column is really worth a look.
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In B5, the TandT must have raced with time to fit in the story about Michael Brown, a black teen who was shot and killed by a white policeman - and the announcement that a grand jury found in favour of the policeman.

I don't know enough about it to argue whether the decision was the correct one. But it doesn't matter. This isn't about Michael Brown and a white policeman. It's about the racism that has plagued the US ever since white planters had the arrogance and brutality to kidnap people for slaves. It looked as though change might be coming with the crusade of Martin Luther King. But, really, nothing much has changed. Blacks still get paid less that a White doing the same job. Their schools are neglected. Their rate of poverty is way above the national average. Their chances of getting an even break are very poor.  And electing a Black president hasn't changed a thing.

(And I don't want to suggest that Canada is a role model. It most certainly is not, and never has been.)

The United States is in a position in which greed has made it the greatest threat to world peace. That same greed (disguised as free trade and abetted by massive corruption) has destroyed the US economy, and worsened the impact of racism. In the case of the US, the barbarians are not storming the walls. The barbarians are the ones who sit in government and take bribes  from even bigger barbarians.

Some day, make a count of the number of billionaires in Canada and the US who are either Black or aboriginal.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nov. 23: a catch up on the news there wasn't time for....

The first story is one that didn't appear in the Irving papers because it just happened on Saturday. (It'll be interesting to see if it does appear.)

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson is planning integration of Canadian and American armed forces for mutual defence. He says this would be no threat to Canada.

Like hell it wouldn't.
1. American governments have a broad interpretation of the word "defence". Whenever they invade some small and distant country to please some billionaire, it's "defence".  In just the recent past, it has had to defend itself against evil Vietnamese who, I suppose, were planning to invade California. Then there were the terrible threats posed by Haiti and Guatemala and so many Central American states. And the Iraqis were within inches of using WMDs for an onslaught against the US. And who knows what Libya might have done?

The US has a long history of aggression, and every time - as in 1812 - it was the other country's fault. Read almost any American history book.  (There are one of two honest ones.)

The integration of armed forces would inevitably mean that Canada would be fighting American wars, - wars like Afghanistan that have nothing whatever to do with Canada.

2. Integration of armed forces would also mean integration of Canada with the world's most corrupt and corrupting military/industrial complex.  (And we're already close to that.) That means allowing defence industries to rob us blind on military spending; and it would mean doing it on a scale that has already plunged the US into hopeless debt, destroyed essential, domestic spending and pretty much destroyed the whole, US economy.

3. Armed forces are not all the same. They are shaped, trained, equipped for various situations.In short, what sort of military you have depends on what your purpose for it is. Some countries have purely defensive forces. Some are for aggressive purposes. The US has a military designed to to fight all over the world to establish American control over all world markets. That, especially, is the reason for the world's biggest navy. The major region to control is Asia and the Pacific. Thus the large number of aircraft carriers with very, very long cruising ranges.
Is that what we need armed forces for?

4. Armed forces can be primarily defensive - or they can be designed for aggression in support of an aggressive foreign policy. Now, think hard about American foreign policy over the past 60 years or so. Despite its military power, American foreign policy and aggressions have been disasters for at least sixty years.  They have killed millions of people, spent trillions of dollars, made the US into what is probably the most hated country in the world.... Is that really what we want our military to do?

5. Is any part of Canada under military threat? Most of it isn't, and hasn't been since the last American invasion. (or the last threat of one about 1904). The part of Canada that is under threat is the Arctic. And that threat is from - the US. It wants the sea passage, and it wants the oil potential. Accordingly, the US is the only country in the world that openly intrudes in our Arctic without our consent, or even asking for it. As well, its most recent marine charts show the sea passage as being international waters, not Canadian.

6. Integration of military forces means integration of foreign policy, integration of objectives, integration of many industries, integration of budget planning. In other words, it would make Canada a sort of Robert Goguen bubblehead doll.

Of course, we all know that Rob Nicholson is no military genius. Like all members of that government he is there to listen to his master's voice. And his master, as we all know, is a control freak and a blind ideologist. That's why Robert Goguen plays it safe by rarely saying anything. He just mails us party brochures with photos of himself smirking. (And we're paying for that.)

Our military is already far, far too integrated with that of the US. That's especially true of special ops which, I suspect, is seeing more action than we are told about.

Integrate our forces with the US, and Canada is history. And that is probably the intention of both Harper and big money in this country. Canada was created in 1867 to meet the interests of big business in the form of railways. But now, our big business leaders don't need Canada. In fact, it gets in the way of bigger profits.

Integration of armed forces with the US is the biggest threat to its existence that Canada has ever faced.   (Yes, I know about the two world wars.)  But will the Irving press even carry the story of that speech?
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There's a story I have not seen in the Irving press, though it's been frequently reported by other news media. Canadian lakes  (so far mostly in Ontario and Quebec) are turning into a quite slimy jelly full of lumps that block water intakes - though who would want to take in water that's a slimy jelly full of lumps isn't clear.

It's caused by acid rain, in turn caused by industrial pollutants. And it's extremely unpleasant even to touch - much more so to attempt to drink it. This is spreading to fresh waters all over Canada. Boy. Lucky we can always get Coca-Cola and other healthy drinks. Of course, it might not be really good for people who farm - or for those who get their water from a kitchen tap.

But don't worry. I mean, we've had the oil industry solving the problem of climate change by telling us it doesn't exist. Now we can get those who sell us water and water products to tell us jellied water is good for us.
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The US - Iran negotiations on Iranian nuclear weapons are just about over - with no progress. That's understandable. It's hard for Iran to negotiate over a nuclear programme it doesn't have. Meanwhile, Israel does have nuclear weapons, over 200 of them obtained illegally. But Netanyahu, with a a straight face,. says  Iran is a threat to world peace. But Israel isn't.
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Harper is being really tough on refugees who come here. He says they use our medicare and our welfare system. Well, duh, yeah. Refugees often come without money and without having had access to health care. That's part of the reason why we call them refugees.  That's why ALL developed countries provide such help as a matter of routime. All. Except for Harper's Canada. That's why the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that he must supply such help.

So Harper is now going to put such services under provincial control. The provinces, of course, can't afford to maintain such services. But, then, Harper never gave a damn about health and welfare for Canadians in the first place.But why is he going to such lengths to block such services to refugees? After all, their use of the system is relatively small.

Well, think European Union. Think free trade deal. Think Hungary.  Harper needs the Hungarian support to get the trade deal he wants. Hungary is one of the most brutally racist countries in the world. Favourite targets are the Roma (gypsies) who have been persecuted for centuries. But Hungary doesn't like to talk about that. So it doesn't want the Roma to publicize Hungary's racism by getting recognized as refugees in other countries.

So Harper is playing the racist game by keeping them out. And this is much the way we treated German Jews in the 1930s and 40s.
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Not much news about Mexico in the North American press. That's odd. It's right next to the US. It's going through turmoil and rioting Firebombs have been tossed at the presidential palace. It began with the discovery of 43 students murdered  by gangsters (who are all over Mexico as almost a military force) , and buried in a mass grave. Turns out the mass murder was order by a local mayor.

Mexico is already suffering massive corruption at every level of government, cooperation between government and gangsters, a huge drug traffic - and much of this with the involvement of the US government and its agents in very questionable ways.

Result? Mexico is close to a revolution. I guess the Irving press will tell us when the revolution starts - maybe. In any case, it certainly won't tell the whole story.
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Finally, a reader sent me a commentary that makes sense. I thank the reader for that. The US is in such a state of confusion now, I'm not sure it has any idea itself where to turn. In this case, the commentary suggests it side with Syria to beat ISIL. It makes sense. But the US has been busy helping "rebels" to kill Syrians for some time, now.

As well, we are facing many problems now that cannot be solved by war That's been notably true for the last 13 years.  In fact, that's been repeatedly demonstrated since 1914. Every war has simply created the next one.
But big business in general is determined on war - because it's good for the arms industry, and because it puts big business in control -sort of.

Here's the site.    http://www.opendemocracy.net/kamal-alam/only-syrian-army-is-able-to-fight-isil-so- let%E2%80%99s-back-it
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And that just about catches us up.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nov. 22: Sorry I'm late.

It is really too bad that we  have not seen EastEnergy ads since Thursday. They are really quite wonderful examples of how to lie to people, and manipulate them. Hitler's Dr. Goebbels would have loved them.

Notice the simplicity of them, and the use of solid blocks of colour - especially blue. Without us being conscious of it, that makes us think of clean skies. Notice, too, that the ads tell us only that TransCanada Pipelines, really, really cares about the environment. But they never say exactly what it is they care about. There's a reason for that. If the ad tells us what the concerns are, that will start us thinking about the problems of a pipeline. And they don't want us to think.

One ad featured a picture of quite attractive young woman telling us she was "passionate" about the environment. It said she was the senior officer of TransCanada  in dealing with environmental issues. That raises some interesting questions.

1. Why would they have a senior officer for that purpose? Doesn't the government set regulations? Doesn't the company simply have to obey them? After all, it's our environment. It's not the property of TransCanada. Shouldn't they simply be following environmental rules set down by a government responsible to us? This is rather as if TransCanada had its own police to deal with speeders, murders, etc.

2. A person who sets guidelines for something like a pipeline needs advanced study to understand what the problems and cures are.  That would certainly mean a Ph.D. in the field as well of many years of experience in research and field work. That takes a lot of of time. But this woman hasn't been on this earth for anything like all the time that sort of experience would take.

3. And she spends much of her time speaking to community groups. Oh? In the business, that's what's called a "flack". Her real job - the really  real one  - is to sell people on the pipeline.

4. The closing words of the ads are something like "The more you think about it, the more sense it makes."  But the ad gives you nothing to think about. Of course not. It's not there to make us think. It's there to show us those big blocks of colour, and an attractive woman saying she's passionate about the environment - z-z-z-z-z-z-

TransCanada is paying the big bucks to the world's biggest PR company to put us to sleep.

Oh, let's assume at all that oil that comes down that pipeline is as pure as the driven snow, and has strict orders not to leak. Well, then it will be refined and sold - somewhere. And what will happen them? Well, then it will be burned and send up the carbon dioxide to create the climate change that is already killing people and animals - including 40% of what used to be our polar bear population.

But I guess what's-her-name is too passionate about pipelines to care about that.
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Friday, Nov. 21 - the front page headline is "Premier reaches out to business".  Yep, he wants the advice and help of business in running the province. Brian, baby, we elected you. God knows many of us regret that. But we did it. That's called democracy. We did not elect business. And we really don't need such a special interest group getting its nose into the government trough.
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Alec Bruce has a superb column on the plight of children in general, and in New Brunswick in particular. We have abysmally cared for children in most of this country. Harper's latest gesture  (in time for the election campaign) is to give  money for early childhood education.. The problem is that most of it will go to the people well enough off so their children already get all the special attention that they need. As a result, their children get educations that compensate for any low IQs the kids might have, and excellent food and medical care so they can grow up healthy, inherit daddy's money, and look down on the rest of us slobs of the lower classes.

Norbert has a really thoughtful column on the trials of meeting the needs of dying relatives. He takes time to thank the hospitals for their sympathy and cooperation. But I'm less enthusiastic about it than I should be because this is the newspaper and the man that insulting ignored the warnings about fracking that came from our Chief Medical Officer.

Justin Ryan has his usual column about immigrants in this province. So far, it's been disappointing because he says so little about them. What problems do they face? After all, New Brunswick, like all of Canada, has a long history of racism. Are there any signs of that left? What kind of work do they find here? What is the school experience for their children?

In Montreal, for example, African and Chinese Canadians could have a very hard time until very recently to find a district they were allowed to live in. African Canadians could get jobs as entertainers in White nightclubs. But they weren't allowed to be customers in them until well into the 1960s. Nor could they get decent jobs anywhere else.

Across Canada, workers of "colour" (and that includes African-Canadians, orientals, and native peoples) still get paid far less than whites in the same job. It's worst in private business. But it happens in public service, too.

An African friend of mine was both very bright and a superb hockey player. But, because he was black, no Canadian university would give him a hockey scholarship - and his parents couldn't help. So he got a hockey scholarship at Princeton, got a law degree, and became an outstanding lawyer. (Until the 1960s, at least, almost all Canadian universities either refused "students of colour" or demanded higher grades for them to get in.

One of my university students, Dorothy Williams, wrote a book "The Road to Now" about growing up black in Montreal. It's an interesting look about a part of our history we seldom hear about.

I'd like to see a column on minorities that has more meat in it.
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NewsToday has an excellent story on the problem of mental illness in the RCMP. It's from The Daily Gleaner, and seems to be second in a series. It's a real eye-opener on the stresses police have to cope with. It's also a good example of what a news story should look like.

There's another story about the heavy snowfall in Buffalo, NY.  Like most of the others, it makes no mention of climate change. Let's see, now. It's the heaviest snowfall in recorded American history. It began on a day when every state in the US, including Hawaii,  hit 0 degrees or lower. It happened in a period in which we have have experienced an unusual number of  odd and destructive weather events - including the loss of most of the Arctic ice shield.

Ah! Coincidence. Besides, we're safe, knowing that our oil pipeline is watched by a woman who is passionate about the environment.

B4 has an important story "Vets want answers for lapsed funds". They are victims of a stunt Harper is pulling with several departments - cutting them short of funds so that he can pretend he has balanced the budget. You know what veterans are. These are the people that just a couple of weeks ago Harper said we owe so much to.

Another story to watch as it develops is on B5  "Mounties arrest pipeline protesters". These are people in Burnaby, BC who were peacefully protesting a pipeline that threatens not only the immediate area, but a large part of the waters of our west coast.

Mounties were reluctant to move in, but eventually had to when the company got a court order demanding the arrests. This, like Energy East, is another big move to get money out of Alberta's oil sands. The catch? The export of oil is a long term project. It's not something for ten years or even twenty years. It means we our oil companies intend to be putting oil on the market far, far past the point of no return for climate changes that will, almost certainly, kill many millions (or more) of people and impoverish any who might survive.

Obviously, the oil companies don't give a damn. There's money to be made, and they're determined to make it. They have the law (and most politicians) on their side. They are determined to use whatever force is necessary to get what they want. The result, inevitably, will be violence. I certainly don't advocate the violence. But it's going to happen. Violence just naturally happens when you combine unlimited greed and self-worship with remarkable arrogance and stupidity.

No, the big violence will not start in New Brunswick. This, after all, is the province so inert that it voted for Mr. Gallant -while also giving strong support to Alward.

B5 has two, big stories - sort of.  One is about the tensions in  Israel where Palestinian Israelis attacked a synagogue, killing five people. What they don't tell us is how the Israel government made things worse. According to most newspapers, the government demolished the home of an attacker who was killed at the synagogue. That's not quite true.

The "home" was, in fact, a five storey building which housed many Palestinian families. Israeli police forced all of the families in the building out, forbidding to take any belongings with them. Then they demolished the whole building. In other words, all the people in that building were punished simply because they were Palestinian-Israelis.  Heil Hitler!

In the other story, Kerry is in a crucial stage of negotiations that have been going on for years to stop Iran from making nuclear weapons. In fact, and as American intelligence revealed at the time, Iran dropped research into nuclear weapons years BEFORE these negotiations began. The only state that has illegal nuclear weapons in that region is Israel. But we won't mention that.

So what are the negotiations really about? The US has been mad at Iran ever since the US destroyed Iranian democracy back about 1950, and set up a brutal dictator in place of democracy. It wanted control of  Iranian oil. And, under the surface, that's really what Kerry is negotiating for.

But why should be oil companies care for the oil when they know that burning even more oil will be so destructive? They don't care - because they're too greedy, too arrogant, and too stupid to care.
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The Nov. 22 newspaper has a front page story "Are dress codes an issue in Metro Moncton schools?' It's too bad the story is so shallowly done. The fact is that all schools in this world (with the possible exception of those in nudist colonies) have dress codes. One of the major responsibilities of a school is to teach students how to dress as an adult and a worker. It become particularly necessary when parents don't seem to care.

It's also important in the classroom, itself. The classroom is a place for concentration on learning. And you aren't going to get much concentration or learning in a school that has no standards for dress and behaviour. A boy whose main concern is getting his pants to hang down far enough so we can have the thrill of seeing his underwear, or a girl whose main concern is getting her breasts to flop or a naked leg to stick across the aisle isn't going to learn much or help others to learn much.

Nor, I should think, should we want our schools to produce graduates who think it's cool to look like sloppy louts. That's not going to help them a whole lot when they go out to the real world.

How people dress has a tremendous impact on how they learn. Accepting sloppy dress and sloppy behaviour is a major factor in creating sloppy thinking, and sloppy standards about everything else in life.

The story has a quotation from an educator who says there is no dress problem in the school. I  have been to many school many times where many girls are dressed like hookers - the ones who work low income districts. I have seen some going to school on cold, winter days with bare legs and super-short shorts. The boys often look sloppy and loutish. I can't imagine an employer would be eager to hire any of them. I can't imagine that students who dress like that have much interest in school as a place to learn.

It's a subject that deserves attention with interviews with people who know what they're talking about. But there isn't much of that in this news story.
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Bill Belliveau has an excellent column on how Harper is short-changing veterans and low-income parents - and pretending that he's doing it to be good to them.

Norbert has a first-rate column, continuing his experience of being with a relative dying the the hospital. He doesn't offer solutions to the concerns it raises - and he doesn't pretend to. But it's a well-written attempt to get us to think about the problems that exist so that we can begin to look for solutions.
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Section B, NewsToday, is pretty much a dead loss. The oddest page is B7, the Faith page. The section listing churches, where they are, and the time of services, has only 4 churches listed. Obviously, one must have to pay to get a church listed. That's odd, coming from the newspaper's owners who are noted philanthropists, and so religious that they even have their own chapel (with special music). They actually give more attention to new pizza restaurants than they do to churches.
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As usual, I enjoyed the columns written by students. C14 and 15. Some are very knowledgeable about things worth being knowledgeable about, some are perceptive, and some remind me of the things that interested me when I was their age - back around the fall of the Roman Empire.
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Okay. This is late, and it's way too long. And, again, I still have a whole page of notes of important stories that didn't make the Irving press.  I think I might do a shorter blog tomorrow (Sunday) on those.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nov. 21: Despite the date of this one......

....it might appear on Nov. 20. I've just published the Nov.20 blog, but found I never got to the TandT in it. Instead, I dealt with the case of the Canadian couple who got $950,000 for having a baby in a US hospital. I think it's a story that deserves far more attention than it has received - particularly since we now have a federal government that would love to privatize medicare, and a provincial one that seems to think it's a business.

And I humbly apologize to the editors of the TandT. They did have a short story on the million dollar baby.
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For Wednesday, Nov. 19, the news in section A is the usual navel-gazing and triviality. Just one story is intriguing. it's on A3 "Bay store coming down".  And there's a surprise in it.

It seems that the province has been testing the land at Highfield Square, and finds only very minor pollution. So it won't be necessary to truck it away. What's surprising about that?

Well, that land was a railway yard for many years that were the really dirty years of railroading. Back when the "events centre"  hockey rink for people who should be able to pay for their own rink was first proposed, I remember well reading that the polluted soil would have to be trucked away. I even checked with the provincial government to make sure of that. And it was confirmed.

So, all of a sudden, there's no problem. Oh. So all those stories about magic fairies like Tinkerbelle must be true. This story is by Brent Mazerolle. Brent - learn to ask questions; learn to check things out. You are a reporter, not a stenographer.
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The editorial, as usual, is about money. Specifically, it's about Dieppe and other municipalities who should hold the line on taxes. There's not a word about what these municipalities and their residents need, not a word about what the money should be spent on - just that the spending be held where it is.

I don't' know which of the editorial twits writes those editorials. But they are never about human beings or about what municipalities are, and what it  is they should be doing. It's in a class with this eternal idiocy about how the new hockey rink will bring hordes of shoppers to downtown. (And I'm sure the editorial writer would find it good to raise taxes for that.)


Alec Bruce has a good one that raises questions about Harper's refusal to take any action on the reduction of greenhouse gasses. Harper knows better than all world's experts and better than the UN committee on climate change. He's betting the whole show on the oil sands. I cannot think of a prime minister in all of Canadian history who has been so short-sighted, so narrow, so pig-headed and,for all of us in this world, so murderous.

Nothing else on the editorial or op ed pages is worth reading.
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NewsToday? Well, it has the same problems as always. It's difficult to get meaning out of the news unless you have some pretty good analysis. But there's no analysis at all. And the stories we do get are often more propaganda than news. B4, for example, has a story about Ukraine. But it's loaded in favour of "our side" and, anyway, almost meaningless to the average reader. You have to check a lot of sources to make any sense out of most of these news stories.

For example, why is the US concerned about Ukraine? Because it wants to spread freedom and democracy? Bunk. The US has created dictatorships and and killed democracies all over the world.

What does Ukraine want? Well, it's flat broke and hopelessly in debt, much of which it owes to Russia. People of east Ukraine want the right to live in Russian. Kyiv won't allow that. Western Ukraine has a long history of profound racism and brutality, against Jews and Russians - which it now aims at eastern Ukraine.

Putin has watched US agents set up rebellion and a coup against the elected government of Ukraine. He now faces humiliation if he allows the massacres of Russian-speaking Ukrainians to continue, and he faces the danger of US nuclear missiles being placed within minutes of Moscow.

On the same page, Putin says the US wants to subdue Russia. Of course, it does. American big business intends to dominate the world. That means Russia and China have to be knocked off, and soon.

And why is the European Union following the US? Because it's made up of largely failed empires and failing economies; so they have to ride on the coattails of the US.

Tough times for Harper. He acts as a puppy for Obama, and pretends that the US is Canada's best friend. But he knows that, for all Harper's visits to the Arctic and the discovery of a Franklin ship, the US openly flouts our claims to that region. If the Russians or the Chinese did it, you'd find the story all over the Irving press. But it's the U.S., our good friends. The people who buy and control American governments are not even friends of Americans, let along Canadians.

But the Irving press never mentions that.
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Thursday - big, page one headline "Graham regrets failed NB Power deal".

Who could possibly give a damn?

The front page also has another pitch for the new hockey rink (let's call it what it is meant to be). It's disguised as a story about how the hockey rink will make downtown a retail hub. Right.

But there's also an excellent report "RCMP in crisis, says retired officer". (A8)  Despite the headline, that's not quite what it's about. It's really about the spread of PTSD among police officers. The numbers are very, very high. This is a story well worth reading, and thinking about.

Energy East Pipeline has hired the biggest PR company in the world to sell on the wonders of oil pipelines, and to convince us that the majority of us, by far, just love pipelines. Plan to get swamped with these and, probably, with propaganda news stories about how good oil is for us. For a start, page A9 has a game ad "Find the ten items in this picture made with oil". oo--oo-ooh.

But don't get too excited yet. There's an even bigger, full page picture on A11. This one is a woman (all the ads seem to be one woman - or men and women in exactly equal numbers. Her name's Rebekah, and she's passionate about protecting the environment. It seems they don't really lay pipelines at all. What they actually do is environmental protection. Yeah..... Get used to it.

Oh, yeah -and remember - if they lay such a pipeline then they won't be closing it anytime soon. It will be in use for decades, sending even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere

On editorial and op ed pages, the only items worth looking at are the de Adder cartoon, and Beth Lyons' column on an aspect of the treatment of women. This is not just "woman" stuff. It's about a very widely spread problem that has caused enormous suffering in our society.

Alec Bruce and Norbert both write on economic crisis.Again. And again, neither mentions the role of big business in creating and worsening this crisis. Norbert, for example, blames the politicians. Come off it, Norbert. Even you must know that both the Liberals and Conservatives are puppets of big money. If any society is going to solve what is now a world crisis, it will have to deal with somehow putting a leash on the mad dogs we call "business leaders" and "philanthropists".

Rod Allen's column is called "City Views". I have no idea why. I have no idea why he is allowed to write a column at all. I have no idea how he could become an editor. It certainly cannot be his laboured wit. I can only guess it must be because of this profound self-esteem.
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There's not much to say about NewsToday. Well, there's a story about Putin on page B3. It's "Putin cool to U.S. envoy".  It's from The Associated Press, and it makes a real attempt to be honest and impartial. That's a real change.

There's a story on B4 about an American general who says that the momentum of ISIL has been 'halted'. But that really means nothing because he adds that this war could take years. The more interesting story is one that the editors of the TandT haven't yet noticed.

The civil war in Syria is one that began when the US, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Turkey.....financed and supplied the "rebels" (who are mostly mercenaries.)  The reason we were given as that Assad is a dictator -as if the US cares. As if Saudi Arabia, the world's most severe dictatorship, cares. The real reason was the danger of Assad allowing China and Russia to trade more widely in the middle east.

But it backfired. The so-called "rebels" were largely what the us would call terrorists if they were on the other side and, increasingly, they are "extremist" Muslims.(Americans and British who killed over a million Iraqi men, women and children were not extremists. They were heroes.) Extremists became the huge movement now called ISIL. In short, ISIL was created largely by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Their power is based on their intolerant religious views, views which are themselves the creation of a century and more of western interference and abuse.

Now, Assad's Syria has a wide tolerance for religious views. In fact, Assad has taken in far more refugee Christians than the US or Canada has - and this in the middle of an intense war.

ISIL seemed attractive as a device for the west to make arab states dysfunctional. What it has done is to create the basis for an Islamic super-state. Fighting ISIL will not make arabic muslims any more friendly to the west. Indeed, the record of the west (especially of the US) in such wars has been dismal for a very long time.

Assad has an army that has proven itself pretty competent. Assad leads a country that is largely secular. Assad is bad for the US because he wants to trade with Russia and China. But -ISIL could be - almost certainly will be - much worse.

That's why there is discreet talk of the US shifting its military aid to Assad.

Or it might hold out in hope ISIL leading to a vast civil war of Muslim against Muslim, thereby destroying most of the arab states.







Nov. 20: It isn't just money...

There's a news story that's been big across Canada, but which seems to have been invisible to the eagle eyes of the Irving editors. It's the story about a Canadian couple on vacation in the US when the wife went prematurely into  labour.

The hospital bill, thanks to the spirit of American free enterprise, was $950,000. The story was presented in most news media largely for pure sensationalism. But it's much more important than that. Households making up 1.6 million people file for bankruptcy in the US - EVERY year, and most for medical bills. Over twenty percent of all Americans have medical bills that are their largest, single expense. And many, many millions more don't have any medical bills because they cannot possibly afford to see a doctor.

Even insurance may not help much because medical insurance policies have limitation clauses which still leave the patient with huge medical bills.

In the US, just about everything medical from the hospitals to the pill-makers is run like a private business. In fact, it is all a private business. Even Obamacare is not really a system of medicare. Obamacare consists simply of government paying exorbitant sums to private insurance companies - which provide for only a part of most treatments.

The result of all this worship of private business is the most expensive and least efficient health system in the developed world.

The whole medical system in the US is a corrupt and corrupting system that exists for only one purpose - to make maximum profits for capitalists (sorry -entrepreneurs). But let's not talk about nasty things like people who can look at a suffering person, and see only a chance for personal profit. Let's talk about morality.

Oh, I'm not going to get religious on you. I have no patience with people who believe or even care that Mary was a virgin and an angel came down and - you know...or that Jesus walked on water or that heaven is up in the sky and Jesus rose from the dead then shot up to heaven in the flesh. None of that stuff matters because, even if true,  it doesn't prove anything. As for Adam and Eve, forget it. If they were the only two people and we're descended from them, that means their children must have made out with brothers and sisters. Yuckie-poo.

But religions have been the traditional source (often the only source) of our social values, of our morality. And just about all of them are remarkably similar when it comes to matters of moral behaviour. Simply put, all taught much the same principles of how we can form societies and live together.

Capitalism doesn't fit with any of them. Capitalism is entirely about me, me, me. There is no concept of society. There is no sense of obligation  or service or of anything that could be called compassion or concern for others. That's why it should be heavily regulated. Capitalism is a pit bull. It needs a fence.

The problem is that we, too, have pretty much lost any sense of morality. Until the last fifty years or so, we got our only sense of morality from the churches and synagogues and mosques and temples. But for the majority of Canadians that source is finished. In New Brunswick, Acadians cannot find francophone, Roman Catholic priests in this province, or even in Canada. So they're looking in France (where there also aren't any.)

In the US, the only churches doing well are the (mostly) fundamentalist ones that are full of nutbars who believe that God wants America to rule the world - and who avoid medical bankruptcy by offering faith healing. (It's a con. I can show you how to do it.)  We have such churches here, too. Check out the Irving press' gawdawful Faith Page.

You will notice that the editorials in the TandT are almost always about money - and never about what people need or what a society should be about. The same is true about both the Liberals and the Conservatives. I have never seen either of those parties (or the U.S. Democrats and Republicans) present a programme that could be said to be based on moral principles. The old, CCF party was founded on moral principles. That's where medicare came from. That's where old age pensions came from. Alas, since becoming the NDP, though it has kept personal honesty, it has drifted from its moral roots.

We're seeing the results as we experience this long, economic decline. By their greed and self-interest; the very wealthy have destroyed their own markets. Greed is immoral. And immorality doesn't work.

Morality has always been a tough sell. But now, it has almost vanished. Greed and self-interest rule. That's the meaning of the story of the couple that got a bill for $950,000 for having a baby.

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Well, I've used so much space on that point that I don't have room to talk about today's paper. So I'll write another one, and this time stick to the point of the blog. Meanwhile, to give this one a decent length, let's face an unpleasant reality.  Guess who made the following statement.

"I do not agree that the dog in the manger has a right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a great wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in an taken their place."

Who made that strikingly racist and arrogant comment? No, it wasn't Hitler - though it sounds very much like Hitler. It wasn't Stalin or Mao, either.

It was Winston Churchill.

In Churchill's view, it was right for Britain to loot and even enslave whole nations because the British were a super-race which was white and spoke English. We all have a tendency to think that way. That's why we are horrified when Arab Muslims kill an American, but don't really notice it when Americans kill Asians, Africans, etc. by the millions.

As well, Churchill was descended of a long line of aristocrats. His father was a lord of the realm.  (But that title could pass on only to the eldest son.) As a man of aristocratic birth, he saw himself as above the common people. That sort of thing is normal when we create an aristocracy, especially an inherited one, when it's an aristocracy of the titled or an aristocracy of the rich.

Churchill was a popular war leader, and a man of undoubted courage. But the British well knew how aristocrats behaved. The knew he have never done anything to improve their social conditions, and he never would. For all his smiling and flashing of V signs, Churchill had only contempt for the common people. That's why they voted his party out of power at the end of the war.





Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nov. 18:

The Nov.7 Times and Transcript Section A has the usual trivia with occasional breaks for silliness. On page. 1, Justice Minister MacKay believes the life sentence with no parole for Justin Bourque was appropriate because it will deter other people from killing police officers.  That's pretty dumb even for MacKay.

Any person who is unbalanced enough to murder police officers simply because they represent something distasteful to him is not going to be deterred by anything. As for revenge-seekers in the public,  they're as disturbed as the killer is. The long sentence is appropriate - but only because we don't have anything else. In our wreck of a prison system, there is almost no treatment. And Bourque can't possibly be allowed on the street.

P. A6 has yet another "enterpreneur" award, this time for NB's top francophone businessman. Dinners to name top businessmen seem to be the fastest-growing industry in the province.

And leader of the opposition, Bruce Fitch, says we must forget the moratorium on shale gas drilling or risk being sued by the shale gas industry and risk it (gasp) moving out. You're so right, Bruce.  I mean, if it does have more serious consequences than we've been told, if the land and the people do suffer as a result, well - the important thing is it will create jobs. For a while.

Tell you what, Bruce baby, tell Gallant to set up a phony study group drawing on the usual professors, and have them study it for a weekend, then present a report saying it's perfectly safe.  You know - like your government did. But not to worry. I'm sure Gallant is already working on that.
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The editorial is a slashing criticism of big corporations in this province, and of how they drain us of wealth, control our governments, and weaken social services. It is particularly hard on the Irvings. But you have to read it closely because it's cleverly disguised as a criticism of hospital emergency rooms.

Alec Bruce has an important column on early childhood education, and of great advances being made in New Brunswick. (These are not advances made by the interfering propagandists of Atlantic Institute of Market Studies and their big business bosses. They had been made by boards of education and teachers.)

But the advances cannot be extended as they should be because this is a poor province (except when it comes to building events centres). Ottawa should be leading the way on such educational improvements across Canada. But it won't.

Harper has been getting ready for the election by proving what a good economic manager he is. That's why we now have a military that's badly equipped, badly underfunded, and with no sense of purpose. Harper won't spend a nickel for anything that doesn't help him get re-elected. So expect nothing from  him for education.
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There's an excellent letter to the editor - Is "Savoie" solution in our best interest?
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NewsToday is the usual incomprehensible muddle. It has two, big stories about Harper on B3.

One is on climate change. He's going to give some money to help poor countries adapt to climate change. Hidden in this story is the bigger one - Canada is going to continue to be one of the world's worst polluters per capita - and Harper doesn't even pretend he cares.

Then, in a real "Johnny Canuck" style moment, he got tough with  Putin, and told him to get out of Ukraine. Putin must have been terrified, perhaps even fearing we might send Peter MacKay over. At the same meeting, Obama warned Putin against "bullying" small nations. Well, Obama would know. He and a long line of American presidents have been the worst bullies of small nations  around the world for the last 60 years.

No Canadian prime minister (and most certainly no Harper) has ever criticized the US for its bullying and mass slaughter. In fact, we've even been known to join them.

On the editorial and op ed pages, the only items worth looking at are de Adder's cartoon about Harper and greenhouse gas emissions- and, surprisingly,  a column on A9 about the severe problems of dependence on fossil fuels.
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NewsToday has the usual muddle of trivia and sensationalim that tells us nothing. Charles Manson, a crazed killer now in jail forever (he's 81) is getting married to a 26 year old who will never be allowed to visit him. Well, it sounds to me like a marriage made in heaven. But is it possible anybody cares?
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So, let's cut to the chase and talk about what's really happening.

We are in the late stages of western European imperialism.  The early imperial powers were Spain and Portugal, followed by France, then by Britain (the biggest one of them). Then came the US descendants of the west Europeans who conquered (stole) all the land that is now the US, large parts of Latin America, then the Pacific for Hawaii and The Phillipines. Since 1945, US imperialism has expanded to the whole world. Canadian descendants of the west Europeans did the same in creating Canada. (Since then, they have served primarily as hired hands for the big boys.) Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands were also into the empire game.

The growth of the empires was mostly at the wish ( and to the benefit) of the very rich. Nobody will ever know how many trillions of dollars of resources were stolen, how many millions of people were reduced to poverty in close to slave labour conditions, how many millions were killed, starved to death, mutilated, tortured..... It still goes on every day in Haiti, Guatemala, over much of South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia....and is now coming to the US itself, to Britain, to most of Europe, to Canada - through the miracle of free trade.

The great threat to these "happy times" of empire was democracy. Luckily, democracy was slow taking hold in Europe and the US because the very rich effectively were in control until the late nineteenth century. (In the US civil war, for example, slavery was just the selling point for the war. The real struggle was between big, southern white money dependent on agriculture - and big, northern white money dependent on manufacturing.)

Improved conditions came largely from unions and from socialist parties. And they didn't really hit their stride until right after World War 2. Medicare and old age pensions, for example, were forced on Liberal and Conservtive PMs by the old CCF party.

Then, especially with Brian Mulroney, we got free trade. As it expanded to South America, then to other countries, the very rich could hire cheap employees, pay virtually no taxes, and kill anybody who got in the way. It was also a big help to hugely expand the wealth of the very rich who could then buy most politicians and most news media, and so effectively end the burden of democracy.

That's why Brian could move into a huge, stone mansion in Montreal; and Mila could host gourmet dinners for the rich to raise money for the poor, and to hear people say how lovely her newest thousand-dollar plus  dress was.

And we and most people in the US started to get poorer.

In the late 1990s, a group of politicians representing big money created The New American Century, a body dedicated to world conquest to benefit big business.  They weren't shy about it. It was, and is, on the web. That's where, several years BEFORE 2011, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan were planned. Leaders of it were Dick Cheney (VP under Bush) and Bush's brother, the governor of Florida who gerrymandered the Florida vote to get George elected. Funny we never see anything about this in the papers. (And Tony Blair, the British PM who rode their coat tails, is now a many multied millionaire who gets forty thousand a day for giving advice to dictators. Meanwhile, the British who elected him as a socialist to improve social services  are now living in a society that is crashing to make the Tony Blairs of this world even richer.

Most recently, Obama told Russia and China they must stop bullying small countries. This comes from the world's biggest bully of small countries. He also warned China it must obey international law. This comes from the country that trashed international law decades ago, that routinely invades and kills in violation of international law, and that protects Israel from international law - or even investigation - of Israel for its killings. The US also breaks international law every day with what is probably world's greatest use of torture -none of it reported in our news media. As Obama has said, quite openly, he believes in American Exceptionalism. Though little reported, that mean he believes the US has the right to ignore all law and to control the world.

We are now moving close to the end game because US military strength probably cannot be maintained at its present level. The big move for world domination has to be soon. That means isolating Russia and China militarily, and keeping them out of foreign markets that the US wants to control (virtually all of them.)

That's what Ukraine is about. Obama wants a war with Russia. Putin has actually been the one who wants to talk about peace. He made a recent speech in which he talked about the need for a world government. I have no idea whether he was sincere, but it was an intelligent analysis of where we are headed, and how it can be avoided. I have never heard of such a speech from Obama.

All of this is linked to Iran, Iraq and Syria. The US is determined to keep Russia and China out of all markets the US business leaders want - and they want the middle east.  The fight against ISIL is one whose outcome is important to China and Russia and the US (as well as to the people who live there - but who gives a damn about them?)

This puts us within inches of World War 3. And it puts Canada into that war from the start; thank you Mr. Harper.  (Meanwhile, some sources on the Kurdish side) say that the growth of ISIL is astonishing - perhaps as high at 200,000 militants - and well armed and supplied with American weapons to make big profits for US war industries. It also seems to have attracted large numbers of trained soldiers, mechanics, pilots, etc. from many Muslim countries.)

Can the US win the massive wars it is creating? Take a look at the military record of the most expensive military in the the world for the last 60 years. The only clear win it obtained in that time was against a tiny, tourist island populated mostly by cocktail waiters - with only a tiny army, and no air force or navy. Every other military operation (and there have been a lot of them) has been a disaster from every point of view.

The very rich of the US know that, of course. But the also know that the US empire is built on a foundation that is shaky, indeed. It US billionaires want to rule the world, they probably have to strike now or never. And remember, like Canadian billionaires (and Russia's and China's), American billionaires are largely greedy, unscrupulous, and quite unthinking. They remind me of stories of shipwrecked sailors in lifeboats who, desperate for water, drank their own urine. And died from it.

Throughout history, either foreign or domestic policy controlled by the very rich has been a disaster - and usually so for both sides.

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Obama says those who behead people on video are evil.

So they are.

So are people who murder helpless civilians by the millions, who bomb them indiscriminately with explosives and napalm, and tons of agent orange that kill people and the land, and that produce horribly mutilated childbirths - who fire radioactive shells into civilian settlements and who supply dictators with poison gas - who torture on a massive scale.

When I see the sense of horror we feel at a beheading (especially if it's a westerner), and the utter indifference to what our side has inflicted on millions - well, I often wonder just how it is we think.

Our side has been inflicting horrible suffering all over the world to everybody from the elderly to babies still in the womb. Obama has done that. And Bush, and Reagan and Johnson and, really, all of them.

Obama says ISIL is evil. And we nod our heads in agreement with this mass murderer and torturer. Yes. They must be killed.. They are evil. We are good.
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Finally, Thomas Young was an American soldier wounded in Iraq who suffered terribly for years. Recently, he died, leaving a last letter to the US government. I strongly recommend this letter to you. It can be found at  www.information clearing house.info/article40249.htm






Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nov. 15: Entrepreneurs and stuff....

I have never before seen a news medium that uses the word entrepreneur as much as the Irving Press does. There is an English term that covers what they use it to mean - business owner. But entrepreneur doesn't mean quite the same thing. It means business owner who operates his business at his own financial risk. In fact, it's only the small business owners that run a risk. With the big owners, we're the people who take the risk.

But some pompous asses just love to say 'entrepreneur' because its French and, like many French words, it sounds more distinguished than the English one. It's used the way some pretentious twits who know only two, French words will say to a waiter, "Bring me a glass of water, toot sweet."

It's also used to confer a sort of mystique on business owners. It implies that from Irving Oil to your corner convenience store, they are more daring, more able, more innovative than others. They know how to govern - unlike those ignorant and clumsy civil servants. That's why Irving could claim to be a member of the government, even though nobody voted for him. That's why almost every copy of our wretched newspaper has pictures of rich people getting awards for "giving back to the community".

Actually, we have a system for "giving back to the community". It's called paying taxes, a system that allows the community to decide what to spend the money on. But the rich don't like that. "Giving back to the community" is much cheaper than paying taxes - and fools a great many people into thinking they really are doing something for us when they're actually bleeding us dry.

Friday's front page of the TandT has pictures of two fat cats grinning as they receive the Order of Moncton for their good works that rival the sacrifices of Jesus. (Actually, most of those "good works" would seem to be more symbolic than real; and some, like "educating" young people about entrepreneurship  (toot sweet) are really self-serving.

The third person getting the Order of Moncton ( is there an order or a business hall of fame of Shediac? of Sussex? of Buctouche?) - anyway, the third person getting the order is Claude Rousel who looks a little embarrassed to be there. That's because he seems to be the only one who has actually done things to help others.
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The other big story on the front page is "Downtown Moncton needs more activity to grow". Duh, yeah. Or you could say "Downtown Moncton needs to grow to generate more activity."

More logically, you could say that decades ago Moncton opted for a city plan based on the use of the car. That's why we opted for shopping malls with big parking lots for a sprawling city that is expensive to provide services (and school busses) for, and downtown parking that rivals much bigger cities for hopelessness.

Add to that a public transport system that is extremely difficult to operate in such a sprawling city. I was able to use Shanghai and Beijing and Rome public transport on my own from my first days in those city. But after more than five years in Moncton, I still can't figure out the logic of its transport system.

The whole city plan is bad. And the ability of real estate speculators to influence city planning is making it worse. That's why moving Moncton Hgh way out to help housing sales in a remote, middle-class boondocks was such a bad idea.
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There's really nothing else worth reading in Section A. The only intelligent opinion column is Alec Bruce's..... but.....how is it possible to write about our economic future without mentioning the most glaringly obvious problem?

We have a capitalist system in which capitalists, unlike all the rest of us, are being allowed to operate with virtually no government control - in fact, with all the control being in the hands of major capitalists who control the governments?

We have a system in which the wage gap is growing out of control, with almost all the profits of world business going into the pockets of the very, very rich - so the rest of us descend even deeper into poverty. We have essential services like health and education being starved because the poor and what is left of the middle class are paying out tax money they really don't have, while corporate bosses avoid taxes by banking in secretive banks outside the country - as in Luxembourg.

And the closest the Irving press comes to mentioning this is the regular, smiling photos of hypocrites who get awards (from the business leaders) for "giving back to the community".

What is happening all over the world is the mad race for all the power and all the money by a tiny group of multibillionaires who send young people off to die in wars that will make the rich richer (something we forget on the day of remembrance). We have lived through the creation of a small number of super-rich who are above the law because they ARE the law. They have created massive poverty and massive killing all over the world. That's what Ukraine and the Middle East and Vietnam and Afghanistan have been all about.

It's not the American people. They, too, are going through terrible suffering in this greatest and most violent robbery in history.

It's the greed and stupidity and callousness of those people who are so fond of giving awards to each other (and building chapels named after themselves. Somehow, I can't imagine Jesus building a chapel and calling it the Jesus chapel - with special music.).
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In NewsToday, it's interesting to see the paper splashing the story of the provincial Liberals looking for Liberal businessmen (entrepreneurs) to give contracts to. That has been the common practice of every Liberal or Conservative government Canada has ever  had, both provincial and national, since 1867 and before. So why make this case a big deal?

Well, it's a reminder to Gallant of who the boss is, a reminder to get off his butt and go ahead with shale gas. (don't worry, boss. He's going to do it. He intended to from the start.)
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I seldom look at the sports section because it's such a feeble one. It has almost no analysis or comment in it. It's a surprisingly drab, narrow and amateurish sports section for a city that is supposed to be mad about sports.
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Section A for Saturday is the usual flood of trivia and ads in disguise.The editorial opens with a piece of advice from Robert Goguen, always a bad sign. He and the editorialist are opposed to any public inquiry into the RCMP shooting deaths in Moncton. The excuse is a wartime one. We don't want to tip the enemy off to our plans.

Well, yes. The police have to keep some of their action plans secret. Of course. But the public certainly has a right to know (this is a democracy, remember?) how this happened, how a person got a very military rifle, how  he was able to routinely take it to a shooting range without anybody mentioning it....There are lots of questions. This also has implications for Harper who has been a big friend of the US National Rifle Association, and very casual about controls. (This buys him the gun nut vote.)

The editorial ends by saying that if we know how all this happened, it would be counter productive. Huh?

Notice, too, that the editorial has war language. "Loose lips sink ships." Yes, indeed. The last thing in the world we need is a police force that is militarized. But it's happening across Canada and, even more, in the US. In a democracy, we have police to protect us and our rights. Militarization creates a police force that protects the very rich by keeping us peasants in line. And that's where North America is heading.
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Norbert is just silly. He's opposed to helping writers in a society which doesn't have a big enough market to pay them enough to write. A Norbert solution? Put a small charge for getting a book out of a library, and use it to help writers.  Brilliant.

We already have libraries that are the worst funded in Canada in this, the most illiterate province in Canada.
Norbert's proposal would do serious damage to the small library use we already have. and writers are not just story-tellers. They give us insight into what our society is like, what we are like, why people behave as they do. Independent writers have told us more about New Brunswick than all the Irving papers put together. I think here of people like Maillet and Nowlan.

His other bright idea is that writers should get day jobs. It works for Norbert, but only because his day job is writing, and only because he uses his writing to kiss up to his boss and owner. That's why it's good to  is be illiterate in New Brunswick. You don't have to read Norbert.

Bill Belliveau is back on the "fiscal cliff". He suggests we bring in 50,000 immigrants a year to New Brunswick in units of families of at least eight. And with a capital worth of $250,000. Oh, and with university educatons. Right. And we should also bring in a boy in green who can fly and a fairy with a wand. Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle spring to mind. (check first, though. They might be Muslims.)

I went to public schools with a high proportion of immigrants, mostly Italian and Syrian. None of them had any capital worth until pay day, and then they had it for only a couple of days.

If a family has a capital worth of $250,000 in its own country, why on earth would it migrate to New Brunswick - or anywhere? Most immigrants are people desperate to get out of their own countries. They're fleeing persecution. They're refugees fleeing the wars that we inflict of them. They're people fleeing places like Haiti and Guatemala to get away from the poverty that we and the US have imposed on them.

Besides, Harper is very, very choosy about immigrants. He doesn't want Romas or Arabs or anybody who looks or dresses too differently. That's because he needs voting blocs -and he knows that large numbers of Canadians are racists and bigots. He wants their votes. (I know. You think Canada is and always has been open to the world. Forget your high school history books. Ask those immigrants who get jailed or deported because they aren't the "right sort".)

We happily accept Ukrainian Naziis, but are less welcoming to Guatemalans. We wet our pants for Chinese billionaires, but won't touch any of the millions of Iraqis and Syrians who have been made desperate refugees by western butchery and destruction.

We don't even treat our native peoples as equals, even though we're the ones who pushed them aside.

He also says we should build bigger schools,  consolidating smaller ones. It would save money. Uh, yeah. It would also make the schools increasingly too big to maintain welcoming atmospheres. And it would and hugely to the cost of transportation.

His best idea is quick and efficient rail transport linking St. John, Fredericton and Moncton. That's a good idea but he proposed we do it a dreadfully expensive way by laying new rail. Surely, what rail we have now must be perfectly safe. My goodness, the nice people at Irving Oil use it every day to transport crude oil in fragile, antique tanker cars.
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Brent Mazerolle blazes another, really good column - so far, the only intelligent column I have seen in any paper about the US Navy Seal who claims to be a hero for shooting an elderly, unarmed man (Osama bin Laden) while the latter was with his wife. My hero.

I know. You think, perhaps rightly, that bin Laden deserved it.  But read the paragraph at the centre of Mazerolle's column. He says it much better than I could.

In fact, why was bin Laden shot at all? The Seals had him. And they had a helicopter. It would have been an easy matter to put him into the helicopter, and take him back to the US for trial.   (In fact, they did take his body into the copter; but they dumped it into the sea. Why?)

Anyway, aren't we and Americans people who believe in trials? Well before the US invaded, Afghanistan offered to send bin Laden to an international court for trial. Bush refused at what proved to be a cost of a over a trillion dollars, uncounted ten of thousands killed, and all for a lost war.

Could it possibly be because the FBI back in those days publicly said, several times, it had no evidence that bin Laden had planned 9/11. And no evidence, except for a video of bin Laden claiming credit for it, has surfaced since.

Navy Seals are heroes only in a very sick society. And that's true of a lot of what we call "special ops". I grew up with some kids who became mafia killers. When I was still a kid, our next-door neighbour was a small-time hood who missed a payment, and was found wrapped in chains at the bottom of a lake.

Navy Seals are very well trained thugs - and they're the creation of a government (and it's financial owners) that are very similar to the mafia. Any society that calls them heroes is in trouble.
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There are two, superb letters to the editor. One is about the "events centre".  "A pleasure dome, or built for vanity?  Then there's a hilarious, but sadly true letter - "Puzzled by tycoon's gas-fracking lawsuit". (I had to correct my original spelling of tycoon. I had spelt it "tygoon". I think I had it right the first time.)
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And, in a world on the edge of nuclear war and desperate for some sort of international means of fighting climate change, perhaps the biggest (of only two) foreign news items is "Wildcat prowling Near Disneyland Paris is not a Tiger...." I'm so relieved.
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According to the Faith page ad for church services, there are only three churches in Moncton - two Baptist and one Anglican.  In other words, the family that built the Irving Chapel to talk to their very own God, charges churches to advertise their services -and charge too much for most churches to afford.

The sermonette of the day is the usual babble that has nothing to do with real life. It reflects the fundamentalist Christian  obsession with believing simply in order to get themselves into the New Jerusalem where they will walk on solid gold sidewalks, clapping hands for Jesus, and do it forever and ever. Every day. (I don't know. Sounds like a hard sell to me.)

You don't even have to do anything for anybody - except, of course, give money to the church. All you have to is to read The Bible with special attention to all the things you must not do - like being gay or lesbian, or worshipping one of those yuckie-poo gods who isn't the real one. Oh, and  you have to be completely dunked or it doesn't count.

The Congregational Christian Church plans to bring Christ into your life with an evening of bluegrass music and jokes. Well, it beats walking golden streets while clapping hands every day for millions and millions of years.
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The Whatever page (C9) is, as usual, a good read - though I want to protest against its absence of male writers. This is feminism out of control..

I was particularly interested in Aurelie Pare's column on some of the harmful effects of video games - for children and adults. As I read it, I thought of another problem which video games worsen.

We are not taught to think. From my own teaching experience in elementary and high school, I know that almost all parents will say they want their children to learn how to think -and almost all will raise hell if you try to teach them to think. For the most part, universities are no better, largely because almost all profs have no training at all in how to teach people to think. I found that true all the way through the doctorate.

Most of university is about learning professional skills, and memorizing information which is soon forgotten. But the processes of thinking get little attention. To learn the processes, you need lots of small-group discussion, lots of reading, and lots of freedom and imagination in planning courses. And perhaps you need Order of Moncton hall-of-famers who can do something more than be boosters for entrepreneurship.
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Now, for some news  you'll never see in the private media.
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First, there's  stunning documentary about the levels of corruption and election rigging in the US. It is very likely that George Bush 2 stole both of the elections he won.That was particularly true as the use of electronic voting machines spread. There was lots of information about it at the time - but very, very little reporting. This documentary looks, for example, at how computer vote results were wildly out of sync with voter exit polls.

There are also bits about how Bush made himself very, very rich while governor and then president - and how he did illegally by, among other things, insider trading. That's not surprising. His daddy made an even bigger fortune in the same way.

It also covers the way in which big business has become the real government.

The commentary is excellent, and delivered by first-rate journalists. But be warned, it's an hour and 45 minutes. So forget  your video game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOygpf#17nE
I hope I got that right. If not, let me know.
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Henry Kissinger was a real powerhouse in American foreign policy until his retirement and even after. He was as right wing conservative as it was possible to be. He was a murderous imperialist and servant of big business. And he was probably the most powerful Secretary of State in American history.

Recently -now get this - he said that the major blame for the Ukraine crisis lies with the US. For the most part, the US has provoked, and Putin has simply responded. That's what has just happened at the G20 conference. Western leaders like Harper made outrageous threats to Putin. Putin knows of course, that Harper always talks big and tough, and never does anything. He knows Harper is talking to the Canadian-Ukrainian vote ifor the next election. So he just said the hell with it, and went home.

Actually, Kissinger is kind to Obama. He knows that Obama is the one who provoked the crisis in the first place, but he doesn't say so.  And, as Kissinger does say, Putin has consistently looked for a peaceful solution, and Obama has consistently been provocative and threatening. And Kissinger knows that all the privately-owned mass media in North America have been lying through their teeth.

Anyway, read what Kissinger says in

www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40223.htm
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There's also a story about how some 17 states - with more to follow - have restored that horror of Charles Dickens' time, the debtors' prison. 48 million Americans live in poverty. (notice the Irving press has never mentioned that?) They're poor because the very rich have made them poor - just like New Brunswick. And when you're that poor, there comes a time when you can't meet even a small debt. So US courts are now sending them to prison.

And it's not like the kind of prison master thief Conrad Black went to with good food and tennis courts and, you know, the right sort of people. No. it's the hell holes that are the overcrowded and violent places that are among the worst in the world.

This is a well told story, with lots of evidence, and with the mark of solid research.

www,informationclearinghouse.info/article40216.htm
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In the Iraq war, Britain and the US made heavy use of "depleted" uranium for munitions.Despite the word "depleted" this stuff is radioactive and toxic. They're all over Iraq, and they have already killed uncounted numbers by creating cancer and birth defects. And they will keep doing it for many thousands of years.

The UN has voted for its member states to help clean up this disaster. A majority said yes. Who said "NO"?

Britain and the US.

Funny how the North American news media missed that one.
https:/www.change.org/p/john-kerry-secretary-of-state-sign-the-united-nations-resolution-on-depleted-uranium-weapons
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There's another site I've just looked at. It's an American site, sometimes a little uneven in quality; but generally it's good, and offers insight to a world we never hear of.

To reach it, google Black Like Moi
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Ever hear of Ezra Levant? He's a very successful newspaper columnist for the Toronto Sun - a newspaper slightly below the intellectual standards of the Irving press, but with more imagination. He's a celebrity on
radio, television, , very well paid.

He calls  himself a conservative but he's actually closer to nazi. He's a hate-monger, climate denier, racist, stunningly ignorant and, according to recent news, perhaps a liar. Recently, he claimed that an Ontario school board had given Muslim students Nov. 11 off so they wouldn't have to attend a school Remembrance day event.

Levant said that, then launched into a racist, hateful rant about the board and about Muslims.

In fact, the board had done no such thing. Even if it had been true, his column about it was vile. But none of it was true.  It was big, big news in The Toronto Globe. But it wasn't carried by the Irving press. It needed the space for a really big story about how Brooke Shields regrets marrying Agassi.

Will Levant's career be harmed by this revelation that He made up all that vile and untrue stuff. I doubt it. He'll continue to be a poster boy for the sewer that North American journalism has become.

To read the story, just google Ezra Levant Muslims.
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Enough. There's lots more, but I need to find a life for the rest of the day.

For a quick summary of what's happening in the world, American governments  (not necessarily the American people) are determined to hand over control of all trade all over the world to American super-billionaires. That's why it wants a war with Russia. That's why it's fighting wars against Muslim countries to destroy their nation-states and their social structure. That's what Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and the Syrian "civil" war are all about. That's what the new Iraq/Syrian war is really about. That done, they have to muscle in on China in the near future.

Will the American military be able to restore normalcy? 1. no. 2. it can't. Check the record for the US military restoring normalcy in Vietnam, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq, again. The war in the Middle East is going to get much bigger - with lots and lots of boots on the ground - and we're in it because Canadian big business wants to suck up to the US to share in the loot. Then we can remember more dead. Ditto for Britain.

Can this be avoided? Possibly. Big business has destroyed the American economy while making itself richer. It has created massive poverty -and is too greedy and callous and stupid to do anything about it. All the blame for the damage is being laid on the poor. The same thing is happening in Canada. That puts the danger of civil violence very high on the list of possibilities. And that civil violence would put a crimp in world conquest. (But it wouldn't help us much).

The race is on. The news media have to create hatred and fear to make people focus on those evil foreigners instead of our evil business leaders. (Sorry, entrepreneurs).

And that pretty much sums up what's happening in the world. Oh, and if you check the Irving press, something else important is happening today. Petula Clark turned 82.