Thursday, February 19, 2015

Feb. 19: People come - oh - somewhere down on the list -

...maybe---

Page A 1. "District to study future of two schools...." The Anglophone school district for this region is planning to close two schools. They're rural schools that, like most rural schools in this province, have suffered a severe decline in student population. So it only makes good, business sense to close them.

And the kids? Oh...put 'em on buses. They already have to ride, so they'll ride a bit longer. We have to save money.

Maybe so. But in business money is an end in itself. If fact, in business it's the only end.  But it's not so in education - or in health care or in dealing with hunger or with homelessness. And with those latter cases, you don't start planning with money. You start with people. You start with the needs of the children, of families, and of communities because these are all people, and they're all affected when we make schools more remote for all of them.  Money is not the bottom line. People are. So you start with people.

The school district could have started, for example, with a study of how other countries have dealt with the form of rural schooling. Are there other ways of educating rural children without maintaining oversized buildings, and without entirely cutting them off from homes and communities?

Official New Brunswick talks a great deal about the costs and other problems of rural isolation. But it does precious little - and I have never read of a case in which it studied how other countries deal with this. Nope. Gotta cut the budget. That's where it starts, and that's where it ends.

There's also a big story on Larry's Gulch which tells us very little. In particular, it remains unclear why taxpayers maintain an expensive lodge for rich people while poor ones go homeless. And, if it was a meeting that discussed government liquor policy with business leaders, it's not at all clear why a newspaper editor was invited to participate. It has many times been obvious in its news coverage that the Irving press serves as a propaganda agent for big business. It's reasonable, then, to expect that Larry's Gulch is just the tip of a very big iceberg. It's also likely that for all the pages of print about it, we are not likely to learn much.
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Norbert trips all over himself trying to define terrorism. He comes to the puzzling conclusion that it's an ideology. Check your dictionary, again, Norbert. An ideology is a belief system. Terrorism is no such thing. Terrorism is a  method of warfare. It has nothing to do with beliefs.

In world war two, terrorism, especially in bombing, was widely used by both sides. And both sides were openly proud of it. Both sides correctly used the word terrorism as a definition of the deliberate bombings  of  civilians in London, Dresden, Tokyo. Churchill wasn't shy about it. He publicly said that terrorism was the purpose - no matter which side used it.

Throughout history, just about every military leader there ever was has used terrorism. It is more prominent now that it has been because weapons now are more powerful. We used terrorism in the Korean War, flattening just about every building of an kind in the north. The US used it on a massive scale in Vietnam, killing millions, and terribly wounding more. Britain and the UK used it to kill a million or so in Iraq. The US uses terrorism all over Latin America. just as it used it against The Phillipines in 1900, and as Britain used it before that in China and India and Africa, and as France used it in North Africa. It's been used by people of every religion. But it has nothing to do with any religion or belief system - including both Islam and Christianity. It's journalists like you, Norbert, who have used it so spread hatred by associating it with a belief system. (Has it occurred to you that in using your column to encourage bigotry you are acting against your own belief system? If you have one?)

de Adder is closer to the mark with his cartoon on how we twist word meaning.

The op ed page has a powerful column by ombudswoman  Patricia Graham. I read it and understood it has a profound meaning for all of us - never get into an argument with Patricia Graham.

What dismayed me was what did not appear on the editorial or op ed page. Nobody had a word to say about Harper's intention to put the final blow to democracy in Canada, and the final transition to a police state. His anti-terrorism bill is so loosely worded that terrorist can mean anything - including being an environmentalist We could be branded terrorists for criticizing Harper - on the grounds that such criticism could make him a target for terrorists. Personal privacy would cease to exist. And we would lose a right we have had for centuries - to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Under Harper's bill, it is possible (and likely) for a person to be imprisoned on no charge at all, and with no trial.

With that bill, Harper will do what Hitler could not - destroy democracy.  And it's all being done with the help of news media like the Irving press who built our fear and hatred. So far, all over the world, terrorists have killed fewer people than drunk drivers have. Last year in the US, far, far more people were killed by police than by terrorists. Indeed, more were killed by accidents while playing with guns. In Canada last year,
some 300 people died of malnutrition - that beats terrorism by far. So how come we aren't acting on it? In fact, how come it isn't even reported?

(Incidentally, the world's highest death rate from malnutrition is in Haiti - a country right beside the US, and under tight American control for almost a century. Cuba, also close to the US has one of the world's lowest rates of malnutrition. But all I've seen about all the above in the Irving press, is the statement by our former foreign minister and village idiot, John Baird, that he hopes Cuba will adopt American capitalism.)

It's not hard to get the information above. Just go to World Health Organization. (Sorry. the WHO sites are hard to read. Just google World Health malnutrition).

We have spent billions on a CSIS headquarters to spy on us, billions more on staffing it, and destroying our own democracy to protect us against a threat that has killed far, far fewer Canadians than malnutrition has.

That's what makes terrorism attractive to all nations Just a few killings can destroy a democracy in a matter of weeks. Terrorism, with the help of our news media, wins again.

Even in a world swept up in an insanity of hatred and fear, this is outstandingly insane

And Canadians don't even whimper.
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The story os Mulcair's opposition to the bill is on page B2. At the bottom.  The big story at the top is that a fight promoter will be putting on a mixed martial arts show. It's a full life in Moncton. We're also getting a teeny-bopper show for adults who have more money than maturity.

B4 has a big story about oil train derailments and massive spills, most of them in the newest and most improved tank cars. But not to worry. They go through Moncton, of course. But we have a law against derailing.
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It's  almost March. - which means it's only days until Netanyahu addresses the US Congress on March 3. My, how time flies when you're having fun. Netanyahu is the man who has made Israel one of the most hated nations on earth. Even in the US, polls show 63% opposed to his visit to Congress.

Creating a state of Israel was certainly a worthy idea though, even at best, it was almost certain to create a state based on racism. Planting it on the land of another people, and without the consent of the other people, was idiocy. And it got worse as the US used it as a means of controlling the middle east, and even worse as the US helped it to develop nuclear weapons.

Friends of mine, ardent Zionists who for years have lived half of each year in Israel, came back a few weeks ago. I asked them what it was like. They replied it was like living in a war zone. That didn't have to happen and, like many North American Jews, they despise Netanyahu for what he has done to make a dream into one of the world's most dangerous nightmares.

The other one is Ukraine. That country is in a misery of cold and hunger. Western bankers have loaned it money - but on conditions. A big one is that the money spent on fuel must be spent on western sources - with prices fixed very, very high. As the need for fuel, even for basic heating, is desparate, that's probably where most of the money will have to go. Well, that's why world bankers are prominent in the cabinet of Ukraine, to suck the last life out of it - as they are also trying to do to Greece.

Economically, Ukraine was broke before the US staged its overthrow of the government. And there will certainly be no recovery as long as fighting is going on. And that creates another problem.

While pro-Russian east Ukraine has high morale and determination, west Ukraine does not. Its soldiers don't want to fight. Indeed, they have nothing to fight for. That means the US will be tempted to intervene. And that is right up with Israel as a likely cause of nuclear war.
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Luckily, the US is by nature a peaceful and even isolationist country which never, never starts a war. Read any American high school history text to prove that.

In reality, the history of the US since the pilgrim fathers has been one of constant aggression. The revolution of 1775 just continued the aggression it had always featured when Britain ran the show. Isolationist? The whole territory of the US, like that of Canada, was based on aggression against those who already lived there. And it extended with wars against Canada and Mexico to steal territory. Hawaii was effectively a conquest engineered by the sons of missionaries.  From the 1890s on, there was brutal American conquest throughout central America and the Caribbean. The Suez Canal was built through stolen territory. Then they turned to easy prey in the collapsing empire of Spain in South America and Asia.

Throughout its history, the US has almost constantly been at war, wars by the hundreds, though usually without declaring war. I don't know how many there have been; and I don't know anybody who does - but it's always been the other side's fault for picking on the US.  When the US invaded tiny and helpless Grenada, Clint Eastwood made a film about the incredible courage of American troops.

Many Americans to this day, probably most Americans, believe they won World War Two almost alone. In fact, the British had a very large army fighting, and fighting very successfully, on the Asia mainland along with troops from India. And the biggest single factor, by far, in winning that war was Russia. It tied up 90% of the German army. Without Russia, no D-day would have been possible.  And Britain was a lost cause. In fact, not long after Dunkirk Churchill was preparing to negotiate a peace deal with Hitler. (No. You won't find that in Canadian high school textbooks.)

American wars still happen, but it's not working the way it used to. In fact, American foreign policy has been a disaster for at least fifty years. Not only has it failed to conquer, the cost of it has driven millions of Americans into poverty - with millions more to come.

And it has put us on two, possible edges of nuclear war, the kind of war that nobody can win.

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