Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March 11: ... and 11 a.m. in the morning.....

...and my Times and Transcript still hasn't arrived. I've been told to hope for it about noon. It's been like that for over a week. The Irving press cannot find a person to deliver it. Thank about that. This is a city with high unemployment. But the muti-billionaire who owns the paper pays so little that it's very difficult to find someone desperate enough to deliver his papers. And with his monopoly on newspaper advertising, these must be very, very profitable papers.

Ah, well, Let's guess what will and won't be in the Irving press when it finally arrives.

Obama has placed heavy sanctions on Venezuela. Among others, Venezuelan assets in American banks have been frozen. Now, a sanction it not just a slap on the wrist. It's act of war. It's an interference in the rights and freedoms of its targets. You need a good reason for that; and Obama has announced it. Venezuela is a threat to the security of the United States.

Yessirree, Venezuela with its population of some 30,000,000 , with a small and ill-equipped military is a threat to the security of  320,000,000 Americans who have only a thousand or so nuclear missiles and the world's most expensive military to defend themselves.

Venezuela is also extremely poor. And that's odd because we know from Norbert and Alec Bruce that having fossil fuel reserves makes a nation rich. And Venezuela is up to its ears in oil, and it has been for years. (and it's not the only one. Oil has still left Libya poor and in a shambles. Ditto Iraq. And they're not the only ones. Oil billionaires don't come to give away money. They come to take it.

And that's really what the problem is.

Venezuelans elected a left wing government pledged to improve the country's dreadful standard of living. To do so, it took the outrageous position that the oil belonged to the people of Venezuela. So it nationalized the oil fields, and used the oil sales to improve living conditions.

Well, that roused North American oil billionaires to a fury of Christian righteousness. So the US, with the help of right-wing Venezuelans who had done well out of the old system, attempted to overthrow the government  (with the mysterious help of an RCMP officer.) But they got caught.

This is dangerous - just like those awful Cubans who took back their own country. It sets an example for countries all over Latin America where people live in poverty to make North American billionaires even richer. That's why Obama hit Venezuela with  sanctions.

Nest step? Possibly assassinations. Possibly an American invasion disguised as "peace-keeping" just like they did in Haiti o depose a president that billionaires didn't like.   Canada, to its lasting shame, contributed to those "peacekeepers", helping to drive Haitians back into the ground as the world's worst nourished people.  And it's quite likely that Harper will go along this time. And on Nov. 11, we'll hear how our "peacekeepers"  died to protect Canadian freedom.
The TandT will probably not carry the story that arab nations are showing very, very little interest in the war against ISIS. The only exceptions are Iraq (of course) and Iran. Turkey has flatly refused to take part. Wealthy and well-armed Saudi Arabia has done as little possible - and far, far less than Canada.

Why are Canadians risking their lives for arab countries that don't seem to give a damn? Why are we there at all?
Libya is expected to be flat broke in 18 months. We helped that along, you may remenber, by helping bomb Libya into chaos. Libya has some of the world's richest oil fields. Now, the oil companies are doing fine. And, as the TandT often tells us, fossil fuels will make us rich. So how come Libya is poor and almost broke?
The US is negotiating with Iran to dismantle its Nuclear bomb programme. But, as we know from Israeli and US intelligence, Iran doesn't have a nuclear bomb programme. And it's not trying to get one. It has been inspected regularly by the UN. So why is the US talking tough?

Israel has at least 200 nuclear bombs. As well, it has them illegally and has always welcomed UN inspection. If Iran were to decide to go for a bomb, it would take a year or more to do it - all while being inspected. So what is Netanyahu's sweat? And why is the US playing along with it?

Do they feel Iran is not democratic enough? In fact, It's probably more democratic than the US is. As well, the last countries who destroyed democracy in Iran were Britain and the US who installed a dictator. No. If the US cared about democracy, it would have one itself. What it cares about is getting its oil billionaires into control of Iran.

My paper has arrived. Whoopee! And it has a perfect score. It didn't run one of the above stories. In fact, it has almost nothing on the rest of the world. And not one of the above stories appears, though these are major stories. A major part of an editor's job is to keep up on world news, and to be sure to cover important stories. US threats to Venezuela which could lead to war are surely important. News that arab countries are doing little to nothing to fight SIS is surely important.  The fact that the US is trying to bully Iran over a nuclear progamme that doesn't exist is surely important.

I can find this stuff, at home and alone with just my computer. The Irving editors have all the news media connections. They have staff. But their news is almost all trivia. They must be one, incredibly dozy bunch.

Oh, their big story with a very misleading headline is on p. B1 It says SWN is giving up on NB, and taking all its money to invest somewhere else in shale gas. But that's NOT what the story says. (and guess who writes headlines - it's those dozy editors.)

The story is that SWN doesn't have the time left to do any drilling here for this summer because even if a moratorium decision were to come down now, it would be too late for this summer. However, SWN says it is still interested in New Brunswick.

Is the headline a deliberate lie? I don't know. But I have a suspicion it isn't. It's just ignorance combined with bias.
Oh, paper may be missing another story. I hear that the TandT has fired all of its photographers. Is that true?  Gee. Funny they don't mention it.
The editorial writer, focusing on taxes, has nothing to say but says it anyway. And the  last paragraph has the usual TandT line. ire all those civil servants. Yeah. there's too many and they're too expensive. Look, editorial writer, read your own half-wit editorial where you say raising  taxes is no solution because it just cuts spending power. Now - what do you think firing all those civil servants would do?

Anyway, government is not too big. It's not civil servants who are taking money out of this province. It's billionaires. Check who it is that's making the big bucks, and going up. And check who it is that gets the benefits of our tax money - without paying much of a share.

Norbert has yet another column about space aliens. He read a book about it. So we all have to suffer. Tomorrow, he'll write a column on what to do about ISIS. The whole world is waiting breathlessly. After all, he's a man who reads Atlantic Monthly.

Brian Cormier has another chatty but pointless column. Apparently, he likes Daylight Saving Time. I'm so relieved.

There's a good column on the universities. Perhaps that's because it's not by a university administrator but by a student leader, Pat Joyce. She outlines the financial problem very well. (I don't think solving the financial problem is the whole story. The universities need to teach people how to think, how to follow events, how to make decisions. For the most part, they aren't doing that. The most glaring example is Business Administration; but it's not the only one. Anyway, Pat Joyce wasn't writing about that. She was writing about the financial problem. And it's well done.)

Alec Bruce has a blistering column about John Williamson, Conservative MP for New Brunswick West. And it's well done.
Canada&World is the usual trivia and bits of foreign news that explain nothing. But there are three items worth reading. Page B2 has "Ethics watchdog says Rabbi with strong Tory ties given preferential treatment. No doubt. But there's no such treatment for Muslim women who wear a veil.

On B3, read "Liberals look at protection for provincial waterways."  Again, Mr. Editor, that's not what the story is about. The story is that David Coon asked when the government is going to move on regulations to ensure our water is clean. These are, after all, regulations that have been sitting but never enacted by either Liberal or Conservative governments for 13 years.

Environment Minister Kenney said - now read this carefully - "As the minister of environment, my No. 1 job is to looking at protecting our environment.....and,,,to look at all our opportunities for job growth in this province." Oh? his no. 1 job includes looking at opportunities for job growth? That's part of the ministry of environment?

Anyway, what does this mean?  It means if the big money in this province finds protecting clean water for us peasants is too much of a nuisance, then we can't have it. And, in fact, that's why these regulation have been sitting in a dark corner for 13 years.

And, apparently, neither the editor nor the reporter thought of calling attention to that very obvious point.
Just below, Federal Minister of Public Safety (spying), Steven Blaney, says it is ridiculous to criticize Harper's anti-terrorism bill. Well, I'm glad to hear that, Mr. Blaney. But I'm upset to learn that almost every major public figure over the last twenty years and representing all parties have said it's it a dangerous bill and a threat to freedom. So has the UN. Way to tell 'em Mr. Blaney. I mean, you wouldn't be in a Harper cabinet unless you were real clever and knew better than all those other politicians, lawyers, jurists and UN authorities on human rights.

In fact, CSIS already tramples on human rights to feed information to government and to big business. And before CSIS, the RCMP did it. Tommy Douglas, a Baptist clergyman and a dangerous maniac because he forced health care on Canada was under surveillance by the RCMP for years. Native leaders are routinely under surveillance, as are environmentalists or anybody who doesn't agree with the government. And that information is shared with the very , very rich twice a year.

George Orwell, in 1948 wrote a book about a future in which the world was held by fear of spies, by arbitrary arrests, by propaganda spewing news media of a world of the future run by "Big Brother" who saw and heard everything through his spies. He called it 1984. He was a bit off on the year. But Big Brother and 1984 are certainly here now.

Big Brother also used double speak. When people feared his wars, he told them "war is peace"

Now think of Stephen Harper who recently said there is no need for parliament to vote on war against ISIS because there is no war. It's just a "mission". We are killing people. They have killed one of us.

War is peace says Stephen Harper.
I forgot. There's another story the TandT missed, though it was a TandT kind of story, and it was all over the American news media. Russia has arrested three men suspected of killing Putin's political rival. The hot news is that one of the rival's party member says the police tortured  on of the prisoners to get a confession.

I have no idea whether that's true. Nor can I understand how a person in the opposition party could know if it were true. It's possible. The American press is treating it as the real thing without question, and using it to prove Putin is evil.

Hello? We've recently learned that the US operates the biggest torture system in world history. And even though it's proven true and even though it's against American law and international law, there has been no investigation, no charges, no firings. I can't understand how even a TandT editor could have missed that.

Anyway, it doesn't matter. People will think Putin  is evil, and they'll forget all about the US record.

1984 is here.

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