Saturday, February 28, 2015

Feb. 28: That's quite a headline...

"Dieppe's Lapierre challenges Fredericton mayor over duality". (This won't mean much to the majority of readers of this blog because the majority live in the US, Germany, Russia, France, Ukraine...and they've never heard of Fredericton, and the only Dieppe they know is in France. So - the story is this; the majority of New Brunswickers are English-speaking. But French speakers (Acadians/Acadiennes) have a right to get services in French. And that means civil servants who deal with the public must be bilingual. Sounds reasonable? Not to some English-speaking people - a minority of them - whose favourite bed time lullaby is still "Rule Britannia. Britannia rules the waves".  Fredericton is a majority English-speaking city. Dieppe is a majority French-speaking one.)

So what's all the foofaraw about?

The mayor of Fredericton says language duality is too expensive. Is it? I have no idea. He gives no figures. Anyway, the provincial debt has nothing to do with language. It has to do with the fact that the very wealthy have New Brunswick in an iron control. That's why it has a big debt. The very wealthy get a free ride, control all the print news media, and own the politicians. Result? They get richer even as everybody else gets poorer, and as services get cut. And nobody, rich or poor, would dare to speak publicly about this abuse of power. And it has nothing to do with language. It would be the same if all New Brunswickers spoke Swahili.  In other words, New Brunswick is much like the rest of the world.

So why does the mayor of Fredericton attack the cost of French services? I'm not sure because he never really says what his reasons are. But he has to win elections; and Fredericton has the normal share of English bigots. And he can't possibly criticize the very rich -perhaps because he's gutless, perhaps he's not very bright, perhaps he just wants to drift along with the wreckage of political life in this province.

It's the old game of stirring up votes by spreading hatred and fear. Well, it works for Stephen Harper our national prime minister.

Neither the editorial nor any column in today's paper even mentions what the mayor of Fredericton has done. And, certainly, none will ever attack the bigotry and ignorance of what he has said.
Page A3 has another thrilling headline about the J.D.Irving book reading festival. Three cheers for our great philanthopist. His reading week is quite useless, of course, and even destructive of reading. I remember these horse race reading programmes from my own school days. Who can read the most books in one week? Pant. Pant. I can. Look at me, Miss Mones. I can read real fast.

In fact, I can read pretty quickly if I have to. But you don't learn much by doing that. You learn by enjoying. You learn because the subject interests you. Those who have learned to enjoy reading will read without being in a speed contest. And the rest?

A very small percentage will join the race because they think they can win. Others know they can't win. So they don't bother. Reading races have no value whatever as a teaching tool. All they really do is to get the sponsor's name in a headline in his papers (that never bother to mention any of the other, less savoury things he does. The best thing Mr. Irving can do for the schools is to get  his nose out of them.
I am daily impressed by the ability of the editorial writer to day after day say nothing, and to say it in total ignorance. And, as always, we see the sub-theme - government bureaucrats bad, capitalists good. Evidently, the editorial writer is completely ignorant of the central role played by bureaucracy in creating modern capitalism.

Today's gem of wisdom is about how we have too many daycare rules. The editorial never says what they are, or why there are too many. It says we should keep the focus on the children.  Good idea. Too bad it doesn't seem to have a clue what focus on the children means.

Anyway, it concludes that the free market will set the prices in the end. So that's okay. (Sorry. what does the free market setting daycare prices have to do with keeping the the focus on the children?) And, get this as a closer, the government itself can deal with people who cheat on their taxes or who operate illegal businesses.
It certainly can deal with very rich people who cheat on their taxes.  It simply cuts their taxes so they don't need to cheat. As for doing illegal things, we allow that through free trade deals - or we simply change the law.

Oh, by the way, if government is to deal with tax evaders and illegal businesses, won't that require bureaucrats?
Norbert has read a magazine article which he claims to give a chilling view of ancient Islam and its practices, claiming that ISIS arose from that. Yes, it's killing and brutality come from. It's from its code of morality.

Norbert, have you ever read The Bible? Ever heard of the crucifixions carried out by ancient Jews? Ever read about the brutal conquests carried out by the ancient Jews under orders from their God? Ever heard of more than a thousand years of Christians who burned witches? Every heard of Joan of Arc who was condemned by the church to be burned alive? Ever heard of the mass tortures and executions carried out by popes? Ever heard of rulers placed in their positions by the grace of God? (Hint. there's one of the British throne right now.)

That's all the same  (and worse than) your "chilling" glimpse of ancient Islam.

Oh, and ISIS is looking forward to the apocalypse when the wicked will be killed and the rest will have eternal bliss.  Wanna try that out on a local Baptist, Norbert? As a preparation, you might want to read Revelation 14 and Revelaion 17:8 to 10.

And do you know that Israel, right now, is cursed with a flood of Christian fundamentalists going door to door to save Jews because the end of the world is near, and all Jews who are not saved will go to hell? I know one of them who was over 40 years a missionary in Africa. He's overjoyed that the end is any day now, and he will walk on the golden streets of the New Jerusalem. Mass murderer George Bush Jr. has said he believes the end is near and he, as a saved one, will sit naked on a cloud looking down on the unsaved as they are dragged down to hell.

Norbert, wake up. What's wrong with ISIS is that it's just like us.

The only column worth reading is "The Morphing of Archie Bunker" by Bill Belliveau -and it's by far the class act of the whole paper. He argues that Stephen Harper exploits fear and terrorism  to win elections and to destroy democracy. Frighteningly, he tells of a a poll showing that 82 percent of Canadians support his anti-terrorism bill even though they have never read it.

This is the 1930s. This is Germany. No, I don't exaggerate. And it's happening all over the world this time. Fear and hatred are being exploited to take our attention from the real nature of our problems. Western capitalists are funding this fear and hatred just as they did it for Hitler right from his early days. And the Irving press has been one of the duller collaborators.

Democracy is pretty much a thing of the past. In the US, much fewer than 50% vote any more. Partly, that's because they can't. Individual states have passed rules effectively barring African and hispanic voters. Spending is unlimited, with the result that big money wins every election. (Harper has done the same thing by by using tax-payers' money to fund his election campaign (calling it 'communications'.)

Ballots are routinely destroyed. Electronic voting can't be checked - and the evidence of faking the results is strong.

In Quebec, I can well remember the Parti-Quebecois scrutineers rejecting thousands of No ballots in the second referendum because the Xs weren't straight enough or went over a line.

In a recent study from Harvard based on honesty in vote counting, access to information, equal opportunity to vote, the US came in 45th among the democracies. I haven't yet been able to find where Canada placed. I'm not sure I want to find out.
Canada&World has an exciting story on B2. One of our four submarines is working. Look out world! It's been some twenty years since we bought them, and at last one is working. The commander of our submarine 'fleet' gushed, "To have that ability to influence foreign governments is huge." Right.

And when will the rest be working? Who knows? They're all really at retirement age now.
I'm slow. Every week I see some house that few can afford featured as Home of the Week. And I wonder why. The houses, like the one in today's paper, are generally inoffensive but boring - and today's is typical of the species. Why on earth would a newspaper carry two pages of colour pictures of a house that hints of lots of money but shows no taste or originality? Today, it dawned on me. It's an ad disguised as a feature.
And the page of student columnists seems to have shrunk to one person. Why? This is, or was, one of the better pages in the paper. And as columns, its work was far superior to that of, say, Rod Allen.

Worse, the faith page has a new format that is actually worse than the old one. (It's on C6).

The sermonette is different only in being longer and more boring and, well, it couldn't be more irrelevant. We live in a real world that poses the greatest moral problems we have ever faced. We live under governments that create hatred and fear. We live in a society that largely ignores the poor and lavishes favours on the very rich. We fight wars and we torture and we kill to make oil billionaires richer. We live under an economic system that praises greed, and that recognizes no ethics whatever.

The sermonette sees none of that. The writer just says that Jesus will go with him (and us) even through the valley of the shadow of death. (talk about trite!)

Mostly, Jesus talked about our behaviour and our responsibilities. Haven't any of the clergy who write for the TandT ever heard about that part?

No. Reading the weekly sermonette is like a cold and day-old cup of tea that is half milk.

"This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang, but a whimper."
There's so much that isn't in this paper. No mention of the rioting in Kyiv. What's that all about?

No mention that the US will probably be sending arms to Ukraine through the United Arab Emirates. That's a trigger for war.

No mention that east Ukraine voted massively not to accept rule from West Ukraine.Apparently, the US sponsoring riots that overthrew the government of Ukraine was a proper thing to do. But for east Ukraine to democratically vote against the illegal government established by the US is wrong.

There's no mention that Oxfam has announced that since Israel makes it almost impossible to get construction material in to Palestine, it may take a century to rebuild the damage caused by the last Israeli-Palestinian war. Israel can, and does also control Palestine's import of medical supplies, It is also holding on to at least a hundred million dollars which was sent to it to be given to Palestine. We haven't begun to see the killing there. Netanyahu wants all of Palestine destroyed, and all Palestinians deported. (Gee. I wonder why some Palestinians fire rockets at Israel?)
As Germany was under Hitler, we are ruled by people made insane by power. National boundaries are disappearing because big business doesn't need or want nations. It has all power with no control and no boundaries.

It's come to the point where we're not going to solve anything with our usual chatter about party policies. That's as true in Fredericton as it is in Ottawa as it is in Washington...... The first problem we have to deal with is to face down big money to restore democracy. Without democracy, we can't do anything.

Once we have democracy, we can harness capitalism to serve us; we can build honest news media, we can plan our future; we can feel free to think and say what we like; we can throw off the hatred, fear and ignorance and lies that are deliberately used to poison us.

But without democracy, we can't do anything. Without it, big money, as it has  for centuries, will kill and exploit and, ultimately, destroy all of us. Without democracy, there can be no morality, no ethics, no future.

The rise of Hitler was not an accident or a coincidence. It was a natural development of the rising power of Capitalism. Hitler did not go knocking on doors to get money. It was given to him by western capitalists who say him as their natural ally.

Democracy is the fundamental issue of our age. We have to end the rule of people made insane by power.


  1. "They Thought They Were Free" by Milton Mayer - although I'm almost certain you have likely read it.

    I really enjoy your blog Graeme.

    1. Actually, there's a whole lot of books I haven't read. And that's one of them. Thanks. I'll look out for it.

  2. Yes, myself as well. I look forward to reading your blog every morning with my morning coffee. Your commentary relating to Brad Woodside's recent dust-up on duality makes sense. Great work!

  3. The mayor of Fredericton spoke out on "duality", not "bilingualism", BIG difference. "Duality" is the duplication of every process, and service, administered by the government, where "bilingualism" is the delivery of services in both "official" languages. Only one of these is protected by law, the other, has been forced upon us.